KAMLOOPS – Alison Villeneuve was enjoying the last days of summer when she witnessed an attack the mere mention of which brings her to tears.
She was kayaking near Cooney Bay, a small inlet on the Thompson River west of Kamloops, on Sept. 22 when she heard a noise she can only describe as screaming.
“I thought someone had drowned,” she says. Moments later, “I heard a male voice screaming, ‘hey, hey!’”
Villeneuve paddled as fast as she could to where she thought the commotion was coming from. The sun was directly in her eyes so she could only make out shadows, but as she got closer she could see two dogs attacking what looked like a fawn on the beach.
The voice she heard was a man and his family on a boat near the shore trying desperately to distract the dogs from attacking the small deer. Villeneuve eventually saw a woman run off with her dogs, leaving a badly wounded deer standing in the water just off the beach.
“She could not get the dogs off the fawn; she had no control over her dogs,” Villeneuve says.
Not knowing exactly what to do, she first called 911 who directed her to the B.C. Conservation Service. The service took her name and number and information about the attack and promised to send an officer.
Villeneuve spoke to Conservation six times over the next two hours and finally phoned RCMP again. She admits to breaking down and crying on the phone, which she believes is why the police agreed to help her.
RCMP arrived within a half hour and euthanized the deer with a single shot.
Where someone else might have left the beach hours before, she says she just couldn’t do it.
"One of the things (the Conservation Service) said to me was ‘let nature take its course’ but it wasn’t nature that caused it,” Villeneuve explained. She says the incident was human caused, so believed humans should solve it.
Sgt. Andy McKay with the Conservation Service says Villeneuve had to wait as long as she did because a communication error. The officer who attended to the call was first told to go to Tranquille Lake, which later turned into Tranquille Farm.
McKay says the officer left several messages with dispatch but nobody got back to him. He says the officer was quite frustrated at not having found the injured deer and eventually had to give up.
Normally it takes the Conservation Service half an hour to get to the scene once a complaint is called in because of the huge area they cover, he says. The officers respond to complaints in the order they are received and anything which threatens human safety goes to the top of the list.
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