THUNDER BAY — A rural Thunder Bay family is in anguish after someone shot and fatally wounded their beloved pet, then left its remains under a bridge.
The 13-year-old Karelian Bear Dog disappeared after being let outside at its home at Cloud Bay in Neebing on Jan. 15.
The family had held out hope that a Good Samaritan had picked him up, thinking he was a stray.
But on Feb. 3, his body was discovered beneath a bridge on Cloud River Rd., about three kilometres from the residence.
It had a bullet wound in its head.
Owner Bruce Oliver says the family is "devastated" over their loss.
Oliver said the OPP are investigating, and he has put up a $2,000 reward.
The family initially offered the money to anyone who could find the dog alive, and is now offering the same amount for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible.
"If someone knows something, they're encouraged to call the OPP," Oliver told Tbnewswatch.
He said he let Atlas Boyka out about 9:30 the morning of the day he disappeared.
The dog sometimes left the property for a few hours at a time, but had always returned.
Oliver believes someone shot it deliberately and moved its body where it wouldn't easily be found.
"They were walking around with a loaded rifle, on a municipal road, cornered him and gunned him down," he speculated.
He said he doesn't understand why anyone would do that.
The dog, Oliver said, sometimes wandered off the property but was not an aggressive animal and had never bitten anyone.
"Karelian Bear Dogs get a bad rap, but if you know the breed, they're super-protective of their masters and they're not really people-aggressive."
Oliver said his children are having a hard time dealing with their loss.
"Can you imagine, you have a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old. That dog was a pup when they were pups. They've had that dog through all the endless road trips and all the places that we've lived...and someone guns down their half-blind dog."
Oliver is counting on someone with knowledge of the incident letting the information slip out at some point, so that the family eventually learns what happened and who was involved.