Suspicious dog murder worries county resident
Dog disappears then found dead the following day
Having her dog stolen from her family’s property and then killed a few kilometres away in southwestern Westlock County has caused a Gibbons woman to warn other dog owners to keep an eye on their pets.
Chelsey Mykyte was visiting her family in the Township Road 590 and Range Road 235 area on June 20 when she let her two dogs out to run in the field. Just after 8 p.m. that evening, the dogs disappeared into some trees, which would be the last time she saw her female dog Wonda alive.
“We watched her walk into the tree line,” she said. “After 15 recalls trying to call her back out, my male dog returned and my female dog did not.”
It wasn’t until June 22 when Mykyte learned what happened to Wonda. That was when she learned Wonda had been found dead by a neighbour walking his dogs about 10 kilometres east of where Mykyte last saw her.
“On Thursday, he was taking his dogs for a walk … when he noticed this large pool of blood,” she said.
The man went to investigate and found Wonda dead in the ditch, Mykyte said. He also made a few other observations while looking around the area.
“He noticed a vehicle had come to a complete stop. Nobody takes this road so tracks are very obvious,” she said. “He noticed two male footprints jumped out of the vehicle, and noticed that a dog had jumped out as well and that is where he shot her right in the forehead.”
Mykyte added that the neighbour said it appeared Wonda had walked into the bushes to die, and that the killer had followed her and taken her collar.
Shortly after Wonda went missing, Mykyte said she called the police because other neighbours had reported dogs disappearing. Once Wonda was found murdered, she contacted the police again to update the situation.
At that point, she said the police told her she needed to find a vet who would extract the bullet and perform an autopsy on Wonda in order to further the investigation.
“If I did not pull the bullet, they were closing the case and they would no longer help me,” she said.
After phoning around, Mykyte found a vet who would perform the procedure in Robert Lawrence at the Westlock Veterinary Clinic.
While Lawrence was unable to locate a bullet in his examination of Wonda’s body, he said he’s fairly confident it was a gunshot that killed her.
“The injuries are consistent with a gunshot wound as the damage is localized to the area only,” he said. “We can’t rule in to say, yes, this dog was shot, but based on what the owner’s description of the history is and how this dog was presented dead, we certainly can’t rule it out either.”
Mykyte picked up Wonda from the clinic on June 25 to bury her.
What remains unknown is the motive behind Wonda’s kidnapping and eventual murder.
In speaking with Thorhild bylaw officer Chris Barr, Mykyte suspects it may be an illegal puppy mill. Chief among the factors pointing in that direction is that the dogs that have gone missing have all been purebreds.
However, she has another piece of information that is even more convincing, she said.
“The only reason I think he has a puppy mill is because I have had two neighbours come to me and tell me they’ve had dogs return after months missing,” Mykyte said. “Their dogs have rings around their necks as being tied up securely, so it appears these dogs have escaped.”
Those dogs also returned malnourished, she said. Unfortunately, because they were both males, she said it was impossible to tell if they had been used for breeding.
As the matter continues to be investigated, Mykyte said she wants dog owners in the area to keep an eye on their pets, and watch out for suspicious vehicles and people, as she doesn’t want others to go through what she experienced.
Barr echoed those warnings, and added some suggestions of his own.
“Make sure your dogs don’t run at large, keep an eye on your dogs and keep them microchipped and tattooed so if they do get picked up they’re already marked animals,” he said. “Also, spay and neuter your pets.”
Above all, Barr said if the animal goes missing in a suspicious way, such as disappearing when it’s never run off before, contact the RCMP immediately.
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