Rumors have been circulating for years that illegal dog fights are taking place on a property near Westside Road somewhere between West Kelowna and Vernon, and cats are being used as bait.
According to Michelle Wand of Kelowna Kitten Rescue, no one wants to talk about the alleged brawls due to alleged gang involvement.
“Nobody wants to talk about it, but it’s been over a decade since it has been going on dog fights. The concerns are retaliation from the bikers, ”Wand said.
Despite fears of a backlash, Wand speaks out. She took to social media on May 31 to sound the alarm and warn pet owners to keep their cats indoors.
She said ink or spray paint is applied to the cat’s paws to identify which cat stays alive the longest in the fight, with spectators making bets.
“They steal loose stray cats and remove free cats from the Internet, like Kijiji and Facebook. They use them as bait. Please keep your cats indoors or build them a catio, ”she wrote on the Lost & Found Pets (Okanagan) Facebook page.
As rumors continue to circulate, with a rescue in the South Okanagan claiming to have a cat in its care that survived a scuffle, the RCMP and the Central Okanagan Regional Dog Control District do not have no complaints about illegal dog fighting.
Kelowna RCMP said they had not received any reports in the past 10 years of dog fighting near Westside Road.
“I saw the information circulating on social media, however, after searching our reporting system, it appears nothing was reported to us,” Const said. Chris Terleski.
The BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Department also confirmed that it had not received any reports or complaints regarding illegal dog fighting in the Okanagan.
Sue Beagle, President of AlleyCats Alliance, is taking the lead in identifying feral cat colonies in the central and southern Okanagan. She said she had never heard of any settlements around Westside Road and that she had never been called upon to humanely trap felines in the area.
“I’ve been hearing these rumors for years. The cats that are taken out for fights are usually just the ones that go outside and are friendly to humans, ”Beagle said. “This is why it is so important to keep your cats indoors. “
Wand agrees, stating that she has heard that there has been a significant increase in the number of missing cats along Westside Road over the past two years.
As for those who fear there is an illegal dog fighting ring in their neighborhood, Central Okanagan Regional District Enforcement Director Corie Griffiths encourages them to immediately call Dog Control or the RCMP and to report the problem.
“I was shocked to learn that this (dog fights) is happening in the Okanagan because we never had a call or been officially alerted,” Griffiths said.