A wolf-dog that devoured cats, dogs, chickens, sheep, deer, a swan and snatched a gosling from a backyard pond while striking fear into the residents of this bucolic island off the coast of West Vancouver has finally been killed.
It took the handiwork of trapper Allan Starkey to bring a collective sigh of relief to the community that had been under threat by the predator since it was spotted in the bush last December.
Earlier this week, Starkey, 72, lured the animal with deer and sheep meat and scents for wolves and coyotes.
"I waited for her and that was it, game over," said Mr. Starkey, who shot the animal in the head.
"Instant kill, right through the brain. There was no suffering, it just collapsed right there."
The municipality hired Starkey to take care of business after two previous methods of trying to lure the hybrid animal humanely failed and it became evident the brazen beast may attack a child.
"All I can say is I'm really happy for the people who can let their kids out and their little pets out because it was eating everything," Starkey said.
The trapper said he captured the female in an area where it had dug up some buried sheep it had killed the night before.
He said the half-timberwolf-half-dog was likely abandoned when it could no longer be controlled.
"It's too bad," he said. "Somebody must have brought that in as a little pup. It got too big to control and probably got away on them and has been living on livestock ever since. And that person should have never let that animal go, that's for sure."
The 43-kilogram animal appeared to be about three years old and had a huge head and powerful jaw and teeth, Mr. Starkey said.
"It was just unreal," said the Maple Ridge, B.C., resident, adding he began trapping at age six, starting with weasels and beavers.
For about the last 15 years, Mr. Starkey has been trapping nuisance animals such as skunks, raccoons and coyotes for individuals and municipalities from Whistler to Hope.
Chris Buchanan, assistant to the bylaw services supervisor on Bowen Island, said that as fear about the wolf-dog spread, the municipality posted notices on the ferry to the town.
"But tourists don't tend to look at community bulletin boards on a ferry," he said.
In March, as more pets continued disappearing, the municipality hired a trapper to humanely capture the wolf-dog on the advice of the SPCA.
When that was unsuccessful, the local veterinarian tried to find the hybrid animal and subdue it with a tranquilizer gun.
That didn't work either.
"He [the vet]was out spending several hours a day on his own personal time trying to locate this animal because his clients' dogs and cats were being injured and on occasion being killed by this animal," Mr. Buchanan said.
The municipality then applied for a special permit with the provincial government under the Wildlife Act to allow for a trapper to use a firearm.
"People are definitely relieved," Mr. Buchanan said of the peace that now reigns on Bowen Island.
"As soon as I got the phone call from the trapper that he was successful, before I attended the scene at 6:30 [Thursday]morning, my partner opened the door and let the kitties out. They hadn't been out in months."
Iris Carr, director of the Coast Animal Welfare and Education Society on Bowen Island, said the group kept hearing about the "strange-looking dog" before reports about disappearing pets.
"I just felt quite emotional about it," she said after hearing the animal had been killed.
"If it was an abandoned dog, then poor thing. I felt terribly sorry for it on one hand and relieved on the other," she said.
"It seemed like it was on a killing spree rather than just killing for food."