Hope made a remarkable recovery after suffering severe injuries in May during an animal abuse case. (Photo by Shalu Mehta/Victoria News)

Saving Hope: how a tiny island community rallied around abused dog

Search parties on Penelakut Island extend a week before finally finding embattled dog

A remarkable tale has emerged about how numerous Penelakut Island residents worked tirelessly to first locate and then save one-year-old German shepherd Hope.

Animal cruelty charges have been laid against Kevin Timothy of Penelakut Island following a BC SPCA investigation. He’s due in court in Duncan on Dec. 17.

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The incident goes back to early May when Penelakut residents conducted a frantic search for the dog, even into the wee hours of the morning.

“We had teams out searching for more than a week,” pointed out Band Administrator Jim Chisholm.

Hope was eventually found around 2:30 a.m. by three people, who stayed with her, providing comfort and water while the authorities were contacted. RCMP officers arrived in their own boat while SPCA officials took a truck onto the first ferry to the scene.

It was a true team effort on the part of so many people to get Hope off the island and into medical treatment.

“I’m just totally proud to be part of it,” said Chisholm.

To see something good come from a life-threatening situation was heartwarming for those involved.

Chisholm himself made sure the ferry back to Chemainus was held until Hope got on it.

“Penelakut Tribe paid for all the vet bills for that dog,” he added. “We gave that dog the best care.

“People on Penelakut went absolutely over the top to do everything we could in this situation. If we hadn’t done that, that dog would probably have been euthanized.

“This is a great place and a great community – we care about animals.”

Chisholm pointed out strict measures are followed by the community’s own dog bylaw officer.

“There isn’t anything more our community members and leadership could have done,” said Chisholm. “This one, unfortunately, to nobody’s fault, we did everything we could. This dog’s alive because of the efforts of this band.”

Another dog belonging to the accused was seized. He’s also been banned from ever being in the care or custody of another animal on Penelakut territory.

“No community is happier than seeing this guy brought to justice than we are,” said Chisholm. “We’re all disgusted by what one individual did.”

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