Residents of Bowen Island, B.C., worry that a wild canine that is believed to be half wolf and half dog is stalking their pets.
The municipality hopes to trap the animal, believed to be responsible for at least one dog's death and a series of pet disappearances.
The wild animal has many pet-owners fearful, according to island veterinarian Dr. Alastair Westcott.
"They're all nervous," Westcott said. "It's amazing how many dogs and animals are on the leash now compared to what they used to be. People are really very careful about where they're walking their dogs, keeping them in sight at all times."
Local resident Ed Booiman has seen what the so-called wolf-dog can do. As he searched for his missing Shetland sheepdog in January, he came across the feral hunter feeding on his dog's carcass.
"It was a wolf-like animal that had killed my dog and was eating my dog," said Booiman.
He said his pet's death confirmed what rumours had suggested for weeks after a series of housecats and dogs disappeared and a deer was mauled.
A grainy photo was taken of what is believed the animal and it shows a dog resembling a German shepherd.
Provincial conservation officers say that because the dog is apparently a hybrid — and not technically wildlife — it's not their problem.
Westcott believes the wolf-dog got to the island either by swimming the two kilometers from the West Vancouver mainland or being dumped there by an owner who couldn't handle the animal any longer.
He advises caution and said he hopes the Bowen Island municipality is able to catch it.
"They get bolder and closer and bolder and closer, and it does become an issue."