Trevor the dog’s fate sealed

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Only a court order can release Trevor the dog, the Mae Bachur adoptee now slated for euthanization by city of Whitehorse bylaw services.

“The dog was turned over to us, the dog has bitten three people, we have declared it dangerous,” said John Taylor, manager of bylaw services.

Trevor’s owners should have returned the dog to the shelter, rather than surrendering him to the city, said a release by the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

“Trevor never should have been surrendered to the city pound. He is now on ‘death row,’ which is not where we think he should be.”

About one year ago, Trevor was rescued from an abusive McIntyre home by bylaw services.

The dog was tied up in the backyard and a chain had been allowed to grow into his neck.

After surgery to remove the chain, Trevor was given to the shelter.

In May, Trevor first met Matthew Allaby.

“He was planning on going out for the summer — not far out, just camping in the bush around town,” said Matthew’s sister Tamara.

“And he wanted a companion,” she said.

Tamara accompanied Matthew to the shelter, where they picked out Trevor.

“He didn’t have a permanent address at the time, so we put my name (on the adoption forms),” said Tamara.

Both assert that they were not told about Trevor’s past.

Three days after the adoption, Trevor snapped at one of Matthew’s friends, drawing blood on his leg, said Tamara.

“At first we thought maybe it was dominance issues or maybe he was in guard mode, so Matt took precautions,” she said.

When Matthew was away, Trevor was muzzled and tied up.

“And he started adjusting the way he played with the dog; he didn’t get too violent, he didn’t let the dog bite when they were playing,” said Tamara.

Nevertheless, Trevor soon bit two more people, including Allaby’s landlord.

“You’d be petting him and his whole body would be wagging, he would just be such a happy dog, and then you would move wrong or make eye contact in the wrong way and he would just snap at you,” said Tamara.

Neither the shelter or bylaw services had seen any prior aggressive behaviour coming from Trevor.

“At the Mae Bachur shelter, Trevor did not behave aggressively towards staff or volunteer dog-walkers,” said a release from the shelter.

“Having a collar embedded into the dog’s neck does not cause a dog to become aggressive, and the shelter’s experience with Trevor showed him to be well behaved,” it read.

Declaring a dog dangerous isn’t a flippant process, said Taylor.

“You can’t just come in and say, ‘Oh, my dog’s dangerous,’” he said.

In Trevor’s case, bylaw officers were already investigating the dog when Matthew decided to sign it over to the city pound.

“The dog is legally ours,” said Taylor.

Keeping Trevor, a potentially dangerous dog, could have turned into a big commitment for Matthew, said Taylor.

Allaby would have had to obtain $2 million in liability insurance, build a secure two-metre-tall fence around his house, fit his doors with special latches and walk the dog with a muzzle.

The Mae Bachur shelter is calling for Trevor’s return.

Tamara, Trevor’s official owner, should have returned Trevor when it became clear that Matthew couldn’t care for him, said the shelter.

In city custody and deemed a risk, Trevor can not be released without court action.

Releasing a dangerous dog unleashes a host of liability issues.

“Let’s say this dog goes back into the population and, for some unknown reason, let’s say he ends up biting a child,” said Taylor.

Trevor is slated to be euthanized by Wednesday.

“This is as hard on our officers as it is on anybody else,” said Taylor.

Bylaw euthanizes roughly two dozen dangerous dogs a year.

“That’s hard enough,” he said.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com