Dog dragged to its death: North Okanagan vet hopes horrific incident will change drivers' habits - InfoNews

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Dog dragged to its death: North Okanagan vet hopes horrific incident will change drivers' habits

The B.C. SPCA recommends securing a dog in a truck this way.
Image Credit: B.C. SPCA
February 27, 2020 - 12:35 PM

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An Armstrong vet is appealing to pickup truck owners who allow their dogs to ride in the back to secure their pets correctly after her teenage son witnessed a dog dragged to its death after it fell out of a truck.

By the time the truck stopped the dog was almost unrecognizable.

Mills Veterinary Services owner Britt Mills said her teenage son witnessed the incident which happened Feb. 25 in Armstrong. 

Mills said her son, who gave his mother permission to discuss the incident, suddenly noticed something dragging along behind the truck and realized it was the dog. He tried to get the driver’s attention by honking but the truck didn’t stop. A second vehicle pulled in front of the truck forcing it to stop. It was then the driver realized what had happened.

“The (dog's owner) was absolutely devastated,” Mills said. "It was just a horrible thing."

It was a gruesome death.

"There was very little left of this dog,” she said. “The nature of the injuries rendered the dog almost unidentifiable."

The Armstrong vet said the dog’s death was an awful experience for everyone involved and hopes relaying the details of the incident will wake people up to the dangers of the practice.

While it is legal in B.C. for dogs to travel in the back of trucks, the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act says animals must be adequately attached to protect them from falling or being thrown from a vehicle. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act reiterates this stating animal must be “secured in a manner that will prevent the animal from falling from the vehicle (or) being injured during transport.”

While the law might be clear, Mills says she sees dogs incorrectly tied in the back of pickup trucks almost daily. Several times a year, dogs are brought into her clinic suffering injuries often because they were not tied up at all.

In October 2019 a German Shepherd was severely injured and had to have its leg amputated when it fell from the back of a pickup truck in Williams Lake. The BC SPCA put out a public appeal in an effort to cover the $4,000 vet bills.

A dog spotted travelling in the bed of a truck in 100 Mile House while the temperature sat at - 35 C made headlines earlier this year, as did a dog that struggled to hang on while being transported in the back of a flatbed truck last summer in Kamloops.

"It’s a weird thing, guys with pick-ups think it’s cool to throw their dogs in the back (and) completely ignore all (safety) pointers,” Mills said.

The B.C. SPCA recommends putting dogs inside the vehicle, but if people must transport them in the back of a truck, the safest method is in a secured crate in the centre of the truck box.

Mills said dogs should always be secured with two leashes when travelling in the back of trucks.

“A single leash is not okay,” she reiterates pointing out that a dog can strangle itself this way.

Mills says there appears to be a lack of understanding with many dog owners in how to properly secure their pets, and unfortunately a lack of will to change their behaviour.

The vet said when she advises people on how to secure their dogs if she comes across the situation in a parking lot, she tries to do it in a polite and friendly manner. Still, she almost always receives abuse.

She’s hoping this horrific incident will be a reminder to people and may go some way into changing people’s behaviour.

For information from the B.C. SPCA on the best way to secure a pet in a vehicle go here.


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