The abandoned dog named Tara that Likely elementary school students raised over $600 to help care for was captured and later euthanized by the BCSPCA.
BCSPCA general manager of communications Lorie Chortyk told the Tribune they received a complaint to the animal cruelty hotline about the dog.
“Our special constable took the dog into our care and she is getting treatment and shelter,” Chortyk said on Monday.
On Wednesday evening, Chortyk sent an e-mail update, noting x-rays confirmed Tara was suffering from an extreme case of spinal spondylosis diformis — “basically her entire spine and neck were fused from arthritis.”
“This condition causes extreme pain, limited range of head motion and inability to use her legs properly. In addition it turns out she was suffering from multiple mammary masses and other issues requiring surgery,” Chortyk noted. ” She also had reduced kidney function, which unfortunately would have limited options for pain control following surgery and long-term.”
Chortyk said the vet indicated that, even with pain control, they would have been unable to keep Tara very comfortable given how advanced her condition was.
The BCSPCA had hoped medical options would be available to help her and that she could live out the rest of her years in a warm, loving home, Chortyk stated, noting once they learned of her condition they could not allow her to continue suffering.
“I hope the people of Likely understand that leaving her out in the cold would not have been in her best interests. We have reached out to the Likely school to see if they would like to use the money they raised for Tara for a private cremation and a urn for her memorial – we haven’t heard back yet.”
Tara was about 12 years old and abandoned about three years ago on the outskirts of Likely along the Ditch Road. Since then local residents Ingrid and Craig Ritson, with the help of another local in the last year, had been feeding her.
Craig built her a shelter and a self-feeder and most recently the students and staff from Likely Elementary/Secondary Rural School took on fundraising efforts for the dog as a project.
“It has been this really lovely outreach lesson. We have been studying different traits on how we learn and grow as humans, thinking outside yourself and caring about people in your community and working together is all coming together and this little project is hitting on all those traits,” said principal Jill Kurki at the time.
Wednesday, Dec. 16, the principal said she was disheartened and felt undermined that no one from the BCSPCA contacted the community to let anyone know they planned to capture the dog, but hoped it would be returned to the community for adoption.
By Thursday Kurki penned a note to the community saying she was sad to provide an update that Tara had been euthanized.
Kurki noted Likely should be proud of its ongoing efforts to care for the dog, and the outpouring of support makes her personally grateful to be a member of the community.
“We’d like to reallocate the generous donations in memory of Tara and how she motivated our community to work together,” she said.
Options for the funds include donating all funds, food and other supplies to an animal rescue called Crooked Lake Ranch located in Quesnel, donate all funds, food and other supplies to a local vet to disperse incrementally for people struggling to care for their pet, use the funds to create a bench in memory of how Tara and how helped our community band together or keep all the funds, food and other supplies local, for the school community to disperse incrementally, for people struggling to care for their pet.
“Given the timing, we will have to wait until January in order to act on community preference,” Kurki noted. “We thank you in advance for your input. It can’t be said enough: we are so grateful for the outpouring of kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity — unarguably the best lesson for our students.”