Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE – Tappan, seen above on Thursday at the Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre, was left in agony with a broken leg after being struck by a vehicle in Porter Creek.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

The fractured bone is seen in the x-ray.

Hit-and-run sparks anger, veterinary care donations

A handful of Yukoners are leaping to the aid of a Porter Creek resident whose dog was the victim of a hit-and-run incident on Wednesday morning.

By Gabrielle Plonka on August 23, 2019

A handful of Yukoners are leaping to the aid of a Porter Creek resident whose dog was the victim of a hit-and-run incident on Wednesday morning.

“I heard this crash, and then I hear this dog screaming (in) agony,” said Alex Juskovic, who was one of the first people on the scene.

Juskovic told the Star the dog was struck at around 11 a.m. on 12th Avenue near Fir Street.

Bystanders immediately rushed to help the stricken animal as the driver sped away.

The dog, a nine-month-old husky-border collie named Tappan, suffered a serious fracture to a leg and was rushed to the Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre. 

Tappan’s owner, 18-year-old Harrison Ullrich, lives close to the scene. He told the Star he was letting Tappan and his second dog outside that morning when Tappan bolted, chasing something across the street.

When Juskovic heard Tappan yelp, he saw others were running to attend to the animal. He dropped his armful of groceries and leaped into his truck to chase the vehicle that had hit the dog.

“I just floored it down 12th Avenue,” Juskovic said. “But then there was a school zone, and the person was flying through the school zone, and I’m not going to get somebody killed.”

Juskovic stopped chasing the vehicle, but was able to take down the licence plate number.

He’d hoped the perpetrator would be criminally charged. When he contacted the RCMP, however, he was referred to city officials.

“As sad as it is, it’s not criminal. It’s a bylaw issue,” he said. “Dogs are not looked at in the eyes of the law. Dogs are property.”

A dog owner himself, Juskovic was enraged by the incident. He posted a warning to the driver on the Whitehorse Rants and Raves Facebook page. He wants the perpetrator to know he has recorded the vehicle’s licence plate number.

“You left the dog there to bleed with a broken leg and in agonizing pain – I saw you speeding off through the school zone to get away. Don’t worry, I reported your car description and your license plate,” he wrote.

The post attracted more than 200 reactions within the day. More than 100 people commented well-wishes to the dog and Ullrich.

Within the hour, Juskovic, alongside other commenters, began requesting the information for the vet so they could make a donation to Tappan’s significant medical bill. Ullrich responded with gratitude.

“Any help is appreciated,” Ullrich wrote. “Getting him a bone plate (if he makes it through tonight) and school is hard to afford.”

Juskovic drove to Alpine Vet that day to make a donation.

“I just wanted to do something to help the kid – sometimes you have to lead by example,” Juskovic told the Star.

Shortly afterward, Jessica Willie called the clinic and made a second donation.

“I saw the whole story and I felt terrible,” Willie said. “I know not everyone is going to ask for help publicly when they need it.

“I knew if it was mentioned that someone was willing to do that, then somebody else might do it as well, which is what happened, which is great.”

Amy Hrebien sent Ullrich a donation by email transfer when she heard the story. 

“I believe helping others is something we should all do,” Hrebien said. “I’ve found the more I serve others, the less I dwell on or think about my own struggles in life. 

“Whitehorse is a good place and most of the people here are good, decent people. It made me feel good to help out.”

Ullrich told the Star Thursday afternoon that Tappan is in improved condition, but will need a plate installed in his femur. 

“The surgery will be upwards of $3,000 to 4,000,” Ullrich said. “All the money is coming out of our mom’s retirement fund.”

Tappan was slated to be transferred to the All Paws Veterinary Clinic for surgery today.

“I’m glad his dog is better; what a relief,” Juskovic said. “I believe we are obligated to help each other … we’re all in this together.”

Comments (24)

Up 13 Down 2

Uptown on Aug 28, 2019 at 7:30 am

In our society, we like to play the blame game. We have all of these issues, so who is to blame? Who's fault is it? The thing about blame is this. Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain and has an inverse relationship with accountability. What purpose does it serve? Perhaps it makes us feel better momentarily, but ultimately, does it solve anything? No. So where does the solution lie? It lies within all of us. All of us must be accountable for the solution.
Dogs and cats are kept as pets and, as such, it is our responsibility to care for them. The dog is the one who is suffering the most right now so let's focus on that first and then solve the bigger issue of accountability. I almost hit a cat who bolted across Range Road last Friday. I was going the speed limit and was not a distracted driver. I don't feel that it would have been my "fault" had I hit the cat. I was angry at the owner for allowing the cat to be outside in such a busy area. However, regardless of "fault" or my "anger" in the situation, the decent thing to do if you hit an animal is to have the guts to stop and bring the animal to the vet had I hit it. That's the humane thing to do.

Up 11 Down 12

Groucho d'North on Aug 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

@Bandit
In the spirit of our community where everybody is quick and eager to blame somebody or something for when things go wrong, I thought it was important to include the potential stimulus of this unfortunate event before it got too far down the trail. I don't think squirrels get all the credit they deserve as the catalyst for many things that go wrong and take this opportunity to get it on the record. I also considered climate change to blame, but thought that was a bit of a reach.

Up 24 Down 4

Hambone on Aug 26, 2019 at 1:14 pm

Had the driver stopped the dog owner would be facing repair cost to the drivers vehicle in addition to the costs he is incurring at the vet. I've seen this dog running free more than once in that area. The dog owner is 100% at fault here.

This is not a hit and run, dogs, under the eyes of the law are considered 'property' but yes, any decent human would have stopped and got the dog to a vet.

Up 20 Down 2

Bandit on Aug 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

@Bylaw DO YOUR JOB
FYI, Bylaw cannot stop you and give moving violations that is up to the RCMP.
@ Groucho ??? WTF was that rant all about?
I hope the dog is Ok and as unfortunate as it was I hope the owner learned a lesson also.

Up 24 Down 1

Just slow down in the neighbourhoods on Aug 25, 2019 at 9:45 pm

I have said it before and will say it again, when driving in neighbourhoods, you must drive with care. I see people flying up and down the roads in Copperidge all the time. It is just crazy, lots of cars going 80-90 kph up and down the streets. What if a kid came flying out on to the street on a bike or something? In my mind there are places to drive faster ie. Hamilton, but neighbourhoods is not the place.

Up 20 Down 3

Amy Hrebien on Aug 25, 2019 at 7:06 pm

If the driver had stopped, people would probably be a lot more understanding. At least they would be doing the right thing. Stopping isn’t an admission of fault. It’s being accountable for your actions. I think everyone can agree that we can all see how it's possible for a dog to run into traffic and get hit accidentally. It happens, however unfortunate. Fleeing the scene makes you look like a heartless jerk with something to hide.

No, the dog shouldn’t have been running loose. He’s a 9 month old pup. They don’t always listen when they see something they want to chase. The fact that the driver sped away through a school zone makes me question his speed when he hit the dog. There have been other hit and runs in this town; not always an animal either.

I’m positive that Harrison will be more careful taking his dog out In the future. He has acknowledged that he should have been more careful. Ultimately, I don’t care who is at fault. The dog shouldn’t have to suffer or not receive medical treatment because of people’s actions or faults. Go ahead and blame the owner. Go ahead and blame the driver. At the end of the day, the welfare of the dog is the important detail here. I don’t regret donating towards his care because I know how easily accidents happen. Two years ago, my sister’s dog escaped past her while she was at the door talking to someone. He bolted right into the street and was hit by a truck. Or, he hit the truck. He wound up sideswiped. He was bruised badly and lost a bit of fur, but fortunately no bones were broken. My sister didn’t even realize he was behind her before he bolted out the door. The driver was great. He stopped and made sure Max was ok. He did comment he should have been on a leash, which he definitely would have been had we planned to take him out.

This is long, I know. I just want to be clear that instead of casting blame, maybe remember we all make mistakes at times. Accidents happen. Let’s show some understanding instead.

Up 21 Down 3

North_of_60 on Aug 25, 2019 at 5:51 pm

@Dustin Doerntlein is totally correct. The dog owner was completely at fault and the dog's pain and injuries are on his head.
This incident clearly shows how so many people blindly follow the lynch mob mentality and instantly jump to unfounded conclusions without verifying their beliefs as true.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." George Carlin

Up 33 Down 1

Dave on Aug 25, 2019 at 6:38 am

Today’s RCMP have a priority list of who gets their attention and Joe Blow public citizen making a complaint is at the very bottom of that list. However buddy not keeping his dog controlled, no matter how accidental it was is at fault here. I’ve had that same thing happen to me where my dog slipped her collar and ran out onto a road, fortunately she wasn’t hit but at the end of the day no matter what the circumstances it was my responsibility to make sure she was secured. It scared the heck out of me and will never happen again I’ll tell you.

Up 23 Down 2

Karl on Aug 24, 2019 at 8:51 pm

If your parked car suddenly popped out of gear and rolled down your driveway into the street and somebody driving down the road smashed into it, whose fault would that be?

Up 14 Down 6

Wilf on Aug 24, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Will the person who did this step forward and end all this BS?

Up 5 Down 20

Groucho d'North on Aug 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm

I suspect the dog was hopeful to catch an unaware squirrel across the street and did his best to succeed in capturing it as dogs are want to do. If all these pesky wild and independent squirrels were managed in some way these dog misadventures could be greatly reduced. Nature just encourages these rodents to run free and do as they like. Thankfully we got that behaviour almost out of our dogs now. But sometimes they forget and these sorry situations occur.
To continue, with appropriate management the intrusive little buggers would no longer destroy the roofing areas of homes to get inside and rearrange the insulation to create further concerns.
A lot of bird seed would also get consumed in the winter season by the birds rather than these greedy tree rats.
By building grassy nests on top of your vehicle engine in the colder season they contribute to under-the-hood fires as well as chewed wires and belts and the associated repair costs.
They plant wild seeds in our gardens and don't come back for them as planned resulting in a plague of assorted weeds each summer. The unexpected blooming sunflowers can be quite nice, but these are rare.
Then there are the ones that knock the power out across the territory while they are scampering up the power poles not paying attention to where they put their feet.
Sure, squirrels are cute and impish but when examined in their aggregate shortcomings, its clear they need to be managed better than they presently are. Perhaps the question of Squirrel Management Aye or Nay? could be added to the all candidates debate when they roll on through, lots of tax money is wasted on many similar project studies.

Up 11 Down 20

WeAlwaysGetOurMan on Aug 24, 2019 at 8:16 am

As ever, the hardworking RCMP stepped up to the plate and sprang into action .

Up 44 Down 3

Joe on Aug 24, 2019 at 12:07 am

How about having a bit of blame for letting the dog run free ? Easy to blame others. Not saying the driver shouldn't have stopped.

Up 14 Down 6

Twyla Risby on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:07 pm

“Dogs are not looked at in the eyes of the law. Dogs are property.”

OK so let's say a stranger came into my yard and slashed my tires and vandalised my car...it's just property, but it's criminal. The RCMP would be (hopefully) looking for the perpetrator. So if a dog is "property" how is this different??

Up 5 Down 8

Selina on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:25 pm

How can people donate?

Up 41 Down 1

Dustin Doerntlein on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:18 pm

As the second person on the scene, I would like to acknowledge the tragedy of this situation. It was very disturbing to watch this poor pup in such agony as we tried to get it into a vehicle and get it down to the vet. However, I do believe that there is a major component missing to this story. I have watched this pup over the past 3 or 4 weeks run wild and free around this particular neighbourhood. Clearly, the negligent owner has up until this point had very little concern for the safety and well being of his pet dog with it being out of his sight and care for hours at a time.
I applaud the public in their generosity and care directed toward this animal but am quite angered by what I believe was an inevitable outcome of this pup.

Up 44 Down 5

No Excuse for Failure on Aug 23, 2019 at 9:36 pm

That's why people are supposed to keep dogs on a leash especially near traffic. The owner wasn't being responsible; it's their fault when their pet runs into traffic.

Up 22 Down 2

donna johnston on Aug 23, 2019 at 7:49 pm

I used to live on 12th and people would race up and down the road all hours of the day and night - one neighbour finally got the RCMP to pull people over - that lasted about two hours - we now live downtown and it is even worse - people on their cell phones - going through four way stop signs - I talked to by-law - they said not their problem - emailed RCMP - no action

Up 11 Down 22

Susan oakford on Aug 23, 2019 at 6:53 pm

I hope the driver is caught, fined heavily and made to pay the vet bill .

Up 8 Down 26

Bylaw DO YOUR JOB! on Aug 23, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Bylaw: You can charge this driver for speeding through a school zone, which is a significant fine, demerit points, etc! You can charge this driver with dangerous driving. Just because your bylaw does not 'protect' animals (and that needs to be looked at immediately!) your laws do protect people from having to endure idiots driving like maniacs. What if that driver hit a child in the school zone? Bylaw needs to be accountable on this front!!

Up 21 Down 2

Roy on Aug 23, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Why, Bill? Are we going to get the ole' lynchin' party together? Give your head a shake.

Up 41 Down 8

Max Mack on Aug 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm

The driver may have sped away because he was terrified of the lynch mob that was evidently already on its way.
The dog was not only loose, but "bolted" across the road. There is no evidence to indicate that the driver's behaviour was inappropriate when the dog was struck.

Even at slow vehicular speeds, it may be difficult (if not impossible) to anticipate an animal bolting from the side of the road directly into the path of a passing vehicle.
I sympathize with your anger, but you need to calm down.

Up 51 Down 4

Wes on Aug 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm

What? Expecting drivers in this town to slow down and pay attention?
Thats outrageous! Got places to go and texts to read.

Up 44 Down 11

Bill on Aug 23, 2019 at 3:22 pm

What's the plate number??

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