PORT AU PORT EAST — While Stephen Wheeler isn’t mad at the young person who shot his dog on the weekend, he says there is a bigger issue of safety and sharing the woods people need to be aware of.
Wheeler’s girlfriend Natalie Thomas and her friend Heather Whalen were out hiking with Titan, Wheeler’s dog, on Saturday on the International Appalachian Trail that leads to Cabox in the Lewis Hills.
They were about three kilometres from a parking lot on an old woods road behind Cold Brook with Titan, a three-year-old husky, who was ahead of them by about 100 metres over a knoll, when they heard shots.
The young women ran towards the sound of the shots and Titan ran toward them, when they noticed some blood on him.
Wheeler said he was told the two young individuals came over right after the incident and tried to help out and gave their names.
Wheeler was then contacted by Natalie and made his way into the woods road and met her, Heather and Titan at the parking lot. They took Titan straight to the veterinarian in Bay St. George South, where he was attended to for the gun shot wound which appeared to be from a low-calibre firearm.
He said he has since reported the incident to the police and an investigation is being carried out.
Cpl. Steve Henley of the Bay St. George RCMP confirmed there was a complaint received and that an investigation is taking place, but said he is not anticipating any charges will be laid as the youth from Kippens who fired the shot was hunting legally with a .22 rifle and believed his target was a coyote.
He said the youth has all the proper paperwork.
Early Monday afternoon Wheeler was in Grand Falls-Windsor with Natalie and on their way to St. John’s with Titan to have surgery to save his leg.
He said the incident was bad for all involved. Wheeler said Titan and the two women were traumatized by the ordeal and the young hunters were also feeling bad.
“I realize it’s that time of year and that hunting is a cultural thing in this province. I’m just happy my dog is going to be OK and that no person got hurt in the incident,” Wheeler said.