On Jan. 24, the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP received a complaint of possible animal cruelty at a rural property near the Town of Taber. Initial allegations were the dog may have been beaten, tied to a fence post and shot.
A necropsy was conducted on the deceased dog and concluded the animal died as a result of being shot with a firearm.
The necropsy indicated there were no other injuries sustained by the dog prior to its death.
After an investigation, the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP has determined the dog was not beaten or abused, and is believed to have been put down in a humane manner.
The police investigation revealed no evidence to support charges against the owner of the animal.
Sgt. Tom Cooke of the Taber/Vauxhalll RCMP said officers who came upon the scene originally suspected the dog had been beaten, due to the amount of blood at the scene and the fact a steering wheel was found near the body of the animal.
“The autopsy clearly showed the dog died from a bullet wound — nothing more, nothing less,” said Cooke. “At the end of the day, we have to work on evidence, and the evidence wasn’t there to lay a charge.”
Despite the fact charges will not be laid, the farmer in question could have dealt with the situation better, according to Cooke.
“If the animal was properly disposed of, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
The RCMP sergeant added the dog was found on the property of its owner, and the dog was not buried due to the fact the ground was frozen.
“It was out in the field and it wasn’t accessible to the public,” said Cooke.
However, two young people did come upon the scene, as Kassidy Czerniak and Siobhan Todd were driving their quads around the area.
“They had to have opened a gate to get into that land,” said Cheri Visser.
Visser was contacted by the youths, thinking she may know the owners of the dog, as she stabled horses near by. “It’s pretty much a centre divider of four different properties. They probably didn’t think the dog would be found because no one really goes back there.”
But the dog was indeed found, and the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP sent out press release the next day asking for tips on the case, as investigators initially confirmed the dog was beaten with a blunt object and shot, and suffered wounds to the head and body.
Cooke said the autopsy led the RCMP to reverse course, as he added we all make mistakes and in this case, the fact the shooting of the dog, described as a young black lab, could have been handled differently.
“It was a dog he had a problem with, and this is how he decided to take care of it,” said the sergeant.
Todd was the first to stumble upon the dead dog. With too much ice on the ground for their quads, the young adults got off their machines for a cigarette break, when Todd saw something in the distance.
“I saw something black at the corner of the fence and I went over there and found the dog,” said Todd, in an earlier interview with The Taber Times. “It was honestly one of the worst things I’ve ever seen done to an animal. I’m an animal lover and dogs are my number-one animal. It was awfully heart-breaking seeing this dog wasn’t that old.”