City of Whitehorse bylaw services are working with Humane Society Yukon to develop clearer animal care guidelines after an incident last month with a severely injured dog.
Saul, a six-year-old dog, is happy and healthy these days — but it was a much different situation a month ago.
Bylaw officers picked up Saul after he was hit by a car and severely injured.
He was taken to a veterinary clinic for examination, where he was given pain management medication then sent back to the city’s animal shelter while officers attempted to track down his owner.
Through a combination of miscommunication and lack of proper action, Saul was kept at the city facilities for 48 hours, long after the medication wore off.
The city’s policy is to give a dog over to the humane society if they haven’t been reclaimed within two or three days.
When staff from the local humane society (also known as the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter) picked Saul up, they say he was clearly in distress.
‘I felt his heart just stop’
Three days after the accident, Saul had surgery at All Paws Veterinary Clinic.
His lungs had collapsed and his diaphragm had torn. His liver and part of his stomach had been pushed up into his chest cavity.
“He couldn’t breathe very well, and we decided at that point it was time to take him to surgery,” said Candace Stuart, a veterinarian at All Paws.
Stuart said this type of surgery is normally referred to a specialist, or at least a clinic with a mechanical ventilator, but travelling wasn’t an option given Saul’s condition.
The surgery was over an hour, with one technician physically pushing the ventilator bag, “breathing for Saul while he was in surgery,” Stuart said.
During a critical point of the operation, Saul’s heart stopped.
“My hand was…