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Dog kills kitten near Tofino

CARE Network and Tofino Air attempt heroic rescue.

Despite a significant rescue effort, a three-month-old kitten died after being attacked by a dog in a remote West Coast community near Tofino.

The attack occurred in Ahousaht on June 24 and rescuers named the male kitten ‘Bilbo’ in light of the epic journey he needed to take to reach medical treatment.

CARE Network volunteers, with help from Tofino Air, were able to get the kitten to the Port Alberni SPCA where veterinary doctors did their best to save him but he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

“We received a call about a kitten who had been attacked by a dog in a remote community in the region and it was a very serious situation,” CARE coordinator Lee-Anne Unger told the Westerly News. “Because we knew how critical the situation was, we knew we had to act fast.”

She said local RCMP facilitated a rescue while the Network called around in search of a boat or plane that could get the kitten to Tofino where a CARE volunteer was waiting to drive him to Port Alberni.

When they called Tofino Air, they found the heroes they were looking for.

“When Tofino Air heard the story, it was so remarkable…Within minutes of us making the phone call, they had decided they were going. They were heading out to the plane right away,” Unger said.

“A very short time after that, they had the kitten in their care and brought the kitten immediately to Tofino into the waiting hands of a CARE team member who brought the kitten to another CARE team member who raced the kitten to Port Alberni and then the SPCA and their phenomenal team took over from there.”

Unger said despite the unhappy outcome, it was heartening to see the Coast’s rescue response.

“Sadly, in the end, the kitten didn’t make it. But, the only reason he had a fighting chance was because people acted quickly…We’re just so deeply grateful for their generosity and their big heartedness,” she said.

“There’s a lot of animal lovers in our region and people who are willing to go over and above to help when help is most needed and it was those efforts that really gave this kitten a chance.”

She added the Coast’s ability to rally around an animal quickly often saves lives.

“Sometimes, regardless of all the effort, we don’t have the happy ending that we’re hoping for for the animals. But, the vast majority of the time we do and that’s a great thing,” she said.

Unger launched the local CARE (Coastal Animal Rescue and Education) Network in 2012 and has worked to bring access and awareness to spay and neuter services, initiated an Animeals program that provides pet food to low-income locals and coordinated an impressive number of rescue efforts.

“Within that time, we have worked hands-on to rescue more than 1,200 animals,” she said

“There’s a variety of things we’ve been doing and I do think there’s a growing awareness about the organization. What we’re hoping is that will result in even more volunteerism and people donating to help keep this essential and life-saving work possible.”

The absence of a veterinary hospital and animal shelter on the West Coast means CARE’s efforts are vital to the local pet population and Unger noted the Network needs volunteers and donations to thrive.

“There’s a significant need in our region for the work the CARE network does and the way this work is made possible is by dedicated volunteers committing their time and their hearts to this work and we’re really keen to find new volunteer team members to fill a variety of roles,” she said.

“Some of those roles work hands-on with animals and others work in various other capacities so there’s something for everybody at the CARE Network. Regardless of where people’s interest and skills lie, there is absolutely a way everybody can participate.”

Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact CARE at 250-266-9663 or

Locals are also encouraged to check out the Network’s website at where more information can be found and donations can be made.

“Every contribution makes a great difference to the work that we do,” Unger said.


Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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