Kirsten Smith holds her dog Romeo tight after the pair were reunited. The dog disappeared into the night and turned up three kilometers away.

Kirsten Smith holds her dog Romeo tight after the pair were reunited. The dog disappeared into the night and turned up three kilometers away.

Dog returned after attack

Raccoon eyed in as culprit in Ladysmith attack

  • Sep. 6, 2011 4:00 p.m.

A Ladysmith resident is happy to have her Romeo back after the 14-year-old deaf and half blind dog was dragged off into the night by an unknown animal.

 

He was later found three kilometres away on a stranger’s doorstep.

 

On August 24, Kirsten Smith and her husband David were awoken around 3 a.m. by the sounds of their maltipoo Romeo barking and running outside their Strang Road home.

 

That was proceeded by a growl, and two high pitched yelps followed by dead silence from the yard.

 

“By the time we got outside with flashlights and a baseball bat, they were both gone,” she said.

Seeing no blood or signs of dragging, Smith deduced that Romeo had been knocked unconscious and carried off into the bushes.

 

Distraught, she contacted wildlife conservation at 8 a.m. and said she surrendered to the idea Romeo was gone.

 

“It was the worst nine hours of my life,” she said.

 

“I started packing up all of his stuff and putting it away.”

 

By a pleasant twist of fate, resident Kristen King found Romeo curled up at the top of her porch when she came home at noon that day to let her own dog out.

 

“It was scared and I didn’t see anything wrong with it other than it was very old and very frightened,” she said.

 

King called the Town of Ladysmith immediately and reported Romeo using his licensing tag.

Fifteen minutes later, he was back in Smith’s arms and off to the vet. Romeo had suffered a puncture wound in his left hindquarter and paw, as well as damage to his front gums. One of his front canine teeth later came out.

 

“We’re still shaking our heads as to how he survived,” Smith said.

 

Despite the incident, Romeo is now eating, jumping, playing and back to his frisky self.

“He’s doing everything he should be doing,” Smith said.

 

Stuart Bates, conservation officer for Ministry of Environment said while the area lends itself to a cougar attack on a household pet, Romeo’s injuries tell a different story.

 

“Initially, based on her description, the fact that the dog was nowhere to be found, I did tell her it was possible that it was a cougar, but in talking with the veterinarian that examined the dog, the wounds were not consistent with that of a cougar, and were very consistent of that of a raccoon,” Bates said. “There were no wounds around the neck or the head which is typical of a cougar, and in my opinion, a cougar that grabs a nine-pound dog… I can’t see a dog in that condition and that size surviving a cougar attack.”

 

Smith said she is still not 100 per cent convinced that Romeo’s assailant wasn’t a cougar. “I’m not discounting that it could have been a raccoon, but I don’t know how a raccoon could get him that far,” Smith said.

 

“Raccoon paw prints I have seen around here, and those wet tracks on my deck were definitely not raccoon tracks.”

 

Bates explained that a cougar’s typical target includes the raccoon, which is often found in the average backyard.

 

Cougar attacks on household pets usually occur when the cat goes into a yard looking for a raccoon.

 

“People don’t need to worry as much, because humans don’t meet what we call their prey profile. We’re bi-pedal and they’re looking for a four-legged creature,” Bates said. “It does happen, but it is very, very rare.”

 

All wildlife sightings, particularly cougars, should be reported to the conservation hotline at 1-877-954-7277.

 

“It allows us to monitor, be it a bear or a cougar, what it’s doing, where it’s going and if it’s behavior is changing,” Bates said. “People should always be vigilant. Ladysmith is a unique community with the wildlife corridors that we have around all the creeks.”

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)
Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

Most Read