The Yukon’s most famous dog is dead.
Trevor, a Rottweiler-German Shepherd cross, received a lethal injection over the weekend after he was diagnosed with an undisclosed, terminal illness. He was five.
He died surrounded by his caregivers, said Shelley Cuthbert, president of Humane Society Yukon, during a news conference on Wednesday. They included former board members and Mike Grieco, a Whitehorse animal-rights activist.
Trevor lived in the Whitehorse animal shelter for more than three years. During that time, he rose to national prominence. He was dubbed the “death row dog” after the humane society launched a year-long court battle to block the City of Whitehorse’s plans to have him put down.
Bylaw officers rescued Trevor from a McIntyre subdivision home in January 2009. They found him tied up in the backyard, with a chain that had been allowed to grow into his neck.
Trevor was taken to the shelter and later adopted out. He went on to bite three people.
Trevor was deemed dangerous by an animal behaviour specialist. That resulted in court restrictions that made adoption difficult: any new owner had to post warning signs, obtain adequate insurance and ensure that Trevor wore a muzzle in public.
Any owner would also have to satisfy the city that Trevor would receive a rehabilitation program and the public would remain safe.
Plans to relocate Trevor to homes in the Ibex Valley, Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay all fell through.
Several people who lived Outside remained interested in adopting Trevor up until his death, but the court’s restrictions made such a move difficult, said Cuthbert.
Cuthbert couldn’t say how much Trevor had cost the humane society. However, the City’s legal bills for Trevor’s case exceeded $45,000.
Cuthbert wouldn’t disclose Trevor’s illness “out of courtesy and respect for his caregivers.”
And Cuthbert wasn’t involved with the humane society during the height of the Trevor
controversy, so she was reluctant to say whether the fight to save Trevor was worth it.
“We’ll always learn from how the court orders unravelled,” said Cuthbert. “Hopefully, we don’t cross this bridge again.”
The society plans to bring up celebrity animal trainers over the coming year as a fundraising effort.
Brad Pattison, the host of End of My Leash, is coming in June. And Victoria Stilwell, host of It’s Me or the Dog, is slated for the fall.
These visits ought to increase awareness of how to properly care for pets “so that we don’t need to have another case like this again,” said Cuthbert.
“It wasn’t fair to Trevor and it wasn’t fair to anyone else,” she said.
Contrary to some assertions being made following Trevor’s death, the city never received any complaints about the dog in recent weeks, said bylaw chief Dave Pruden.
Grieco opposed putting Trevor down. While he never learned what ailed Trevor, he suspects the dog was put down because of a pain he suffered in a joint in his lower paw.
“He’d cry, nurse and lick it,” said Grieco. “He’d yelp and cry and hold it up.”
But Grieco thought Trevor had more life in him. And, after visiting the dog more than 800 times, he maintains Trevor wasn’t dangerous, provided he was handled correctly.
“He was a sweetheart. I had 1,000 per cent trust in this dog. He slept on my bed, he slept in the house.
“You have to do what you can for your dog. You don’t say it’s a waste of time because of illness, and say, ‘They died anyway.’ We’re all going to die anyway.
“We don’t kill people because they’re sick. We don’t kill infants because they’re crippled. We brought these dogs into this world, let’s look after them. Stop breeding more and take care of the ones we have.”
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