Matthew Allaby thought he was adopting a friendly dog when he picked up Trevor, a two-year-old German Shepherd/Rottweiler cross, from the Mae Bachur animal shelter.
Weeks later, it had bitten three people.
“He just went crazy; he started viewing people as a threat,” said Allaby.
Two of Allaby’s friends were bitten just after petting the dog, he said.
Allaby’s landlord was attacked as he came over to fill up a water tank.
As soon as he stepped out of his truck, Trevor launched himself off the front porch and sunk his teeth into the landlord’s outstretched arm, said Allaby.
Trevor has been turned over to Whitehorse bylaw services to be euthanized.
“It’s kind of irresponsible for the shelter to adopt out a dog that they know is going to be violent,” said Allaby.
“I’m curious to know what happened; I understand that the new owner just got him sometime in May, so I don’t know what happened since then to change his disposition,” said John Taylor, manager of bylaw services.
“I’m not a dog psychologist and I don’t think anyone can answer the question of what might have triggered him,” said Taylor.
A year ago, when a bylaw crew seized Trevor from an abusive owner in the McIntyre subdivision, the dog had showed no signs of aggression, said Taylor.
“When a dog comes into our care, we will hold him, and if they show any type of aggression, we will not forward them back over to the Humane Society to adopt out; we just can’t take the chance that something like this might happen,” said Taylor.
“He showed nothing … and they were dealing with him when he was in extreme pain,” he said.
A chain had been allowed to grow into the dog’s neck.
“For having that happen to him, he was really a very nice dog,” said Taylor.
In the custody of bylaw services, and later the Yukon Humane Society, Trevor would need ongoing care to recover from the injury.
Allaby didn’t know of Trevor’s abuse at the hands of his previous owner, he said.
“If I had known that, I would have known that there’s going to be problems with the dog and he’s probably going to be violent because of it,” said Allaby.
“That’s something they should have told us.”
Allaby was only told Trevor’s vaccination history, and that the dog had clashed with a child.
“They told us there was an incident where he had grabbed a child, but that it wasn’t an aggressive attack; it was a playful thing because he had just come in from outside,” said Allaby.
At one time, the shelter’s website was quite candid in providing background information on its dogs.
Would-be adopters would be told a dog’s temperament, and notified if it was safe around children, cats or horses.
A dog named Bruno was described as “large, friendly and rambunctious.”
Another dog was listed as being able to clear backyard fences.
“Her new owner will have to have a secure fence,” advised the description.
Owners were warned about high-maintenance dogs.
Take this 2005 listing for Momma Dog; “Life has not been kind to her lately and she needs a patient, understanding owner who can help her unpack her baggage,” it read.
Even a dog’s dubious origins were out in the open.
“Sheena was found in a ditch inside a box,” said a listing.
But starting about three years ago, the shelter started providing only basic information such as breed, colour, size and date of birth.
The Mae Bachur shelter did not return calls by press time.
Contact Tristin Hopper at