BC Place ledge sends 2 off-leash dogs to their deaths
Optical illusion of greenery hides steep drop-off fooling some dogs
A concrete ledge fronting shrubbery on Vancouver's BC Place plaza has been fooling some off-leash dogs, leading them to jump over it and fall about 10 metres to the pavement below.
In the last year, two dogs have died and another was severely injured, according to the Yaletown Pet Hospital located just below the plaza.
Dr. Jessica Robertson says the problem is dogs who have been on the plaza off-leash and have either been startled by something or been playing and chasing something.
"The three cases we've seen here in the last year, two of those dogs died from their injuries, one survived, but had to have major surgery to recover."
Devin Drewitz says his husky Jake is lucky to be alive. Drewitz says Jake was on an electronic collar as the two of them walked from the Canucks store to BC Place.
"I took that path and let him off the leash because I knew it was a pedestrian only walkway, thinking it would be safe, there's no cars around, there's nothing that's going to bother him."
But Drewitz was wrong and Jake promptly jumped up on the ledge and tumbled over. The fall left him in critical condition and he was rushed into surgery.
BC Place says safety measures adequate
A number of people say they believe the plaza is an optical illusion for dogs.They see grass and flat concrete with trees just beyond the barrier, but they can't see the drop.
They've asked BC Place to put in better safety measures.
In a written statement, BC Place says it's deeply saddened by the events that have taken place and brought in an engineer to make sure the barricade is built to code.
It says it also put up additional signage telling people pets must be on a leash and advising there's a steep drop.
Dr. Robertson agrees the dogs should be leashed, but says accidents happen and the consequences are severe.
"It's hard. Their injuries are bad and the owners are understandably really distraught, and it's sad for us to see these cases come in," she said.
Drewitz admits that in hindsight, Jake should have stayed on his leash.
But he says if BC Place could spend half a billion dollars on a new roof, It could have put in a guardrail.
"I can't think of any other place in the city that has something like that, a four-storey drop in the middle of, or right outside a venue that holds 60,000 people."
With files from the CBC's Tim Weekes