When Don Beattie walked into his garage and found his dog Ben lying in a pool of blood, he thought the dog had been attacked by a cougar or a bear.
But after taking Ben to the vet, he learned the culprit was a human: Ben had been shot twice, with one of the bullets shattering on his hip bone and another passing through his lung and embedding in his chest.
Beattie, who lives on an acreage near Mabel Lake east of Enderby, was out mowing the lawn with his three-year-old dog outside with him. While he was mowing, he heard a quad drive by, which is common in his neck of the woods.
“I didn’t think twice about it. I started cutting the lawn and Ben was laying down beside my truck,” he said.
About 15 minutes later, Beattie found his dog lying slumped against the first step in his garage in his own blood.
“He was covered in blood so I couldn’t tell where it was coming from,” said Beattie, who quickly got Ben into the car and drove until he had cell service in Ashton Creek, at which point he started calling places that could take Ben in. The closest vet clinics were closed so he had to take Ben to Kelowna.
“They took x-rays and the vet came back with the x-rays and she said ‘your dog was shot, he’s got two bullets in him.’”
Beattie says the veterinarians aren’t able to remove the bullets from Ben at this time as it would be too risky a procedure.
Now a week after he was shot, Ben seems to be doing better and is “in good spirits,” but Tuesday night he was coughing up “a lot of blood.”
Beattie says he’s not sure who shot Ben, but he’s convinced it was the person on the quad. He says neighbours also heard the quad, and one of them also heard the gun shots.
Beattie says he knows his neighbours well, having lived on the property for 25 years, and none of them would ever think of shooting his dog. He suspects it may have been a hunter, as he has allowed hunting on his property.
That won’t be the case going forward, as Beattie says he’s putting up ‘no hunting’ signs on his property — a decision he regrets to have to make, because “people need to feed their families and I understand the whole hunting thing.”
“Now every time I see a hunter up here, somebody with a gun, I’ll be wondering did they shoot my dog or are they going to shoot my dog? I just can’t allow that to happen now,” he said.
He also regrets having to keep Ben in a fenced off area from now on.
While some have suggested Beattie’s dog might have been chasing cattle, Beattie says that’s not likely. Ben is an Australian shepherd-border collie cross, and Beattie says he’s not at all aggressive. He talked to the only nearby dairy farmer and they said they’ve never had problems with his dog.
So far Beattie has paid between $5,000 and $10,000 in vet bills. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover these costs, and any future costs, with a goal of $12,000. So far it has raised more than $3,000 in five days.
However, Beattie says he does not want to receive more money through the GoFundMe than what he has to pay in vet bills, so he’ll be donating any excess funds to an animal hospital to be used for any injured or abused dogs at the hands of humans.
Beattie has contacted both the RCMP and the SPCA. The RCMP investigated but came up with nothing, while the SPCA is conducting its own investigation.
It’s been a week of sleepless nights for Beattie, who gets up every time Ben “starts gurgling and coughing.”
All in all, it’s been a sad week for Beattie and his family, but he’s been able to look on the bright side and see all the kindness and support that’s been directed his way.
“Our tears of sadness from when this happened slowly are turning to tears of joy from everybody’s contributions and everybody’s caring,” he said.