Whitehorse Daily Star

Ross River man killed by stray dogs: coroner

The Yukon’s chief coroner was in Ross River on Monday to tell an angry and terrified community that it was feral or semi-domesticated dogs that killed a young man last fall.

By Pierre Chauvin on May 11, 2016

The Yukon’s chief coroner was in Ross River on Monday to tell an angry and terrified community that it was feral or semi-domesticated dogs that killed a young man last fall.

The body of 22-year-old Shane Glada was found last Oct. 18, prompting coroner Kirsten Macdonald to investigate.

“There were a lot of tears, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration,” Macdonald said in an interview about the meeting.

“Obviously, they’re angry Shane lost his life.”

A forensic pathologist and a veterinarian pathologist in B.C. both examined the body before determining the man was killed by dogs.

The community fears it could happen, next time to a child or an elder.

Stray dogs remain an issue in the community, as people have been attacked since Glada’s death, she said.

“People are carrying pepper spray and hockey sticks in the community,” Macdonald said.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable how they’re living now.”

Macdonald said she went to Ross River to have the community’s input when working on recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

“I wanted to give them the information first, meet with them and say, ‘where do we go?’” she said.

Her own report won’t be published for another couple of weeks.

But in the meantime, she urges Yukon government officials to step in.

“If there are agencies who can do things now, they don’t have to wait for me,” she said.

“This has to be dealt with right now.”

The Department of Environment told the Star today it’s co-operating “in any way we can” with the coroner.

No further details were offered.

From the EMS personnel who responded to the call to her having to examine the body, it was a shocking experience, the coroner said.

“It was one of the most traumatic things I’ve seen.”

A task force with community members has been set up to present recommendations.

Many in the community want dog owners to take responsibility, said Dr. Mary Vanderkop, the territory’s chief veterinarian officer, who also attended the community meeting.

She said she and the animal health unit are ready to provide assistance to the community.

Macodnald noted that there are a lot of dogs running around in the community.

“It seems (that) people know who they belong to,” she said.

Some are clearly not well-fed and not taken care of, she added.

One of the issues that has been raised is the lack of Yukon-wide licensing regulations for dogs.

Under the Dog Act, it is up to municipalities to create bylaws governing such regulations.

But many unincorporated communities, including Ross River, can’t do that as the act stands, says NDP MLA Kevin Barr.

“We need to have a look at the Dog Act, so there can be the ability to address the situation,” he said today.

In Whitehorse, for example, a dog running around will be taken by bylaw officers.

The owner will have to pay a fine to get it back.

The situation is not unique to Ross River, Barr said, noting there have been similar issues in Marsh Lake.

Barr said he has raised the issue since he was first elected in 2011 but that the Yukon government has failed to act.

“It’s falling on deaf ears,” he said.

“It’s very frustrating for people living in the community.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment told the Star today the government has put in place a number of measures in the past years.

One was to establish a spay and neuter clinic to sterilize and vaccinate dogs.

Between 2013 and 2015, 40 dogs were sterilized, said Roxanne Stasyszyn.

“The government remained committed to supporting an effective dog control program,” she said.

Stasyszyn said increased community patrols with a contracted dog catcher to remove dogs that were running at large were set up.

Some noted that Stacey Hassard, MLA for Pelly-Nitsulin, which includes Ross River, failed to attend the community meeting.

“The independent investigation by the coroner has not yet concluded and until that has finished, government officials, like minister Hassard, can’t comment or get involved,” said cabinet spokesperson Dan Macdonald.

Comments (22)

Up 1 Down 0

Shameful on May 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

RR people should be ashamed of this situation... Isn't it in our culture to treat animal and nature with utmost respect?? Or maybe this only stands when going to court to claim some ancestral rights?? People.. Please.. Have some self respect and pride.. As a first nation man i find this very very sad and i am incapable of seeing any bright future....

Up 1 Down 0

drum on May 17, 2016 at 6:08 pm

OMG - what is so complicated about looking after your animals - just like you look after your children.
It has nothing to do with being first Nations, signing or not signing agreements or blaming everyone in the world. It is about your community - take pride and responsibility for what you have achieved in your your wonderful community. Take care of your faithful animals and they will take care of you. Be proud to be carers of all the animal spirits in your care.

Up 16 Down 1

Martin Oreste on May 17, 2016 at 6:13 am

I'd seen this problem in most other communities in the YT. All of these talk about dealing government-to-government directly; however RR is NOT a signatory of LCA. Maybe that's their reason... or may just be cultural. Truth is they they don't know how to handle a problem. They need another government to guide them, just as the other Kaska Nation in WL.

Up 13 Down 5

wolverine on May 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Where is the voice of the CYFN?

Yukon indigenous people have been pushing for self government since the '70s.
This is an opportunity to demonstrate native self government to the Yukon and Canada.

Why can't they send someone from the other native communities such as Pelly, Mayo, and Liard to show the people in Ross how to effectively control dogs running loose? No additional resources are needed; it can all be done from existing budgets as 'training days'. It shouldn't take more than a few 'training days' and a box of shells or two, and the 'dog problem' in Ross would be solved for now. Use what works in other communities, train people in Ross to do it.

Lets see how the CYFN govern themselves on an issue as simple as dog control.
Aboriginal solutions for aboriginal communities. Don't expect the 'white' government to do it for you because we all know they'll screw it up for sure.

Up 17 Down 3

Jwhite on May 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm

This was a horrible thing to happen. I doubt if anyone could read this article and not be appalled, outraged, and seeking solutions. The Chief of RRDC was quoted on CBC as upset that there was not, in his opinion, sufficient response from the public and he blamed that on racism. This is first and foremost a community problem. Other levels of government can help, but they cannot take the lead, at least not with any hope of success. The community is largely First Nation. Anything anyone says is likely to be construed as racism. Not saying enough is condemned as racism. How are we ever going to solve problems in the Yukon with this attitude?

Up 29 Down 3

north_of_60 on May 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm

" Odd silence greets a public safety crisis in Ross River, Yukon" reads the CBC headline.... and they don't allow any comments.
People are speaking out, but the comments are not what CBC want's to hear.

Up 28 Down 3

betty on May 14, 2016 at 8:57 am

Lady who lives in RR was interviewed yesterday on CBC radio. She said she has rescued at least 70 dogs in "RR" over the last few years at her own expense. She sends some of them to her daughter in Alberta who tries to find homes for them. She has a litter of puppies at the moment. This lady should have financial support of some kind. The new "committee" that has been formed in the community to study the DOG situation has not asked her to be involved. Now that makes absolutely no sense. She seems to be the only person who is actually doing something to help these poor animals - feeding and caring for them at her own expense.

Up 37 Down 5

67 scotty10 on May 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Take responsibility. It is part of being a civilized community. Does Ross River wish to be part of the civilized world or do they wish to be considered unable to cope with everyday life. Behind the rest of the Yukon?????? If so do they think everyone else has to step in and fix all their problems including all the poor miserable dogs? Take responsibility for the poor little animals that did not wish to do anything else but be loved and be part of a family - not kicked, beaten or put on three feet chain for all their live, (can you imagine what this must be like?

Up 31 Down 10

Josey Wales on May 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Does not surprise me much. I lost a brother to a feral human raised the same as these dogs. Not sure why everyone is so scared of calling it what it is..."a culture issue". Or is it a mere coincidence that virtually every "Ross River" across this country is the same.

Up 31 Down 11

QC on May 12, 2016 at 9:19 pm

I see the "dogs are people too" people are out in full force. They care more about the dogs in this story than the hapless guy who got killed by them.

Up 32 Down 2

Sickened on May 12, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Hire a Dog catcher. Hunt all the feral dogs. Don't allow dogs to be chained up outside. Only being used to be warned if there is bear in the neighborhood.

Up 52 Down 8

Mickie on May 12, 2016 at 8:52 am

@ Bob M

These dogs aren't pets, their feral. The town needs to put down all the stray dogs and enforce licencing and keeping dogs on leashes or fenced in.

Up 33 Down 10

Sue the Dog Owners on May 12, 2016 at 1:57 am

The young man family should sue all the dog owners.

Up 36 Down 12

betty on May 12, 2016 at 12:22 am

These poor animals have been condemned to a life of misery. Never feeling love or caring from humans.
It is terrible that a family is mourning a loved one. We have to make sure it never happens again.
It is terrible that a small community cannot or do not want to care for their animals - if animals are not cared for they have to do what they have to - to survive.
We brought dogs into our communities centuries ago (Aboriginal people tamed wolf like dogs to help them hunt and survive - they also protected the families from wild animals ) - we have to take care of them!!!!!!!! We owe them so much and we need to treat them with respect.

Up 52 Down 3

cameron on May 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Who created this problem!!
I thought we were keepers of animals and respected their spirits. They did not ask to be abused and starved. They want to be part of a loving family. They deserve that. They turn wild only when then are so deprived of care and food.
All neglected dogs should be removed from communities that are not willing to look after them and they should not be allowed to ever have an animal ever again.
It is so awful that this man lost his life - no one is not acknowledging this. My thoughts and sympathy are with his family,
The community has to take responsibility for the neglected animals.

Up 43 Down 5

drum on May 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Time to take responsibility for your pets anywhere in Canada. They need to be fed, loved and cared for. They did not ask to be starved, kicked, tortured, neglected and left to die because no human being cares - they do not want to turn wild - they want to give love and live in our homes as part of our families.
Now it seems to be that it is all their fault because human beings did not care for them AS THEY DESERVED. NOW THEY ARE GOING TO BE KILLED because people are too lazy and uncaring to fill their responsibility seriously.

Up 40 Down 3

YTRes on May 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

There seems to be a huge wringing of the collective hands over this one, but the RRDC seems to be strangely silent on this. Why not a zero tolerance for wandering dogs? Couldn't the RRDC organize (with the support of the RCMP) a dog patrol? I keep thinking that's there is lots of finger pointing, but nothing getting done.

Up 29 Down 5

Max Mack on May 11, 2016 at 5:13 pm

The resources to deal with the stray dog problem in Ross River already exists, as it does in almost every Yukon community. The solution is the same one that has been effectively used for millenia by communities faced with problem dogs and other predators.

Up 62 Down 23

Jack Colby on May 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm

time for an organized dog hunt in Ross River ?

Up 77 Down 10

Bob M on May 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm

...connect the dots to reveal the common thread. Irresponsible "parents" and irresponsible pet owners.

Up 82 Down 7

Politico on May 11, 2016 at 3:14 pm

For years the Humane Society and the Government has offered spay and neuter vouchers to help the communities. Ross River has steadfastly declined to participate as has another community in the Territory. RR complains constantly about their dog problems but refuses to do anything. What do they expect to happen?

Up 82 Down 3

too bad it's too late for Shane on May 11, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Now is the time to enact standards of dog care in Ross River. If not now, then when will it ever happen? After a little kid gets killed?

Shane's death will mean something if it results in people being held to the responsibilities involved while owning dogs. This, "I can do whatever I want, it's just a dog", attitude has been shown for what it is: cruel to dogs and dangerous even deadly to vulnerable people.

Enough of putting up with those dog owners who won't look after their animals. Party's over, smarten up or get rid of your dogs. I am angry when I think about what I have seen and heard.

Rest in Peace Shane.

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