Nfld. & Labrador

His dog was killed by an ATV. Now this hunter is calling out reckless drivers on N.L. back roads

Terry Casey's dog was killed by an ATV on the weekend, the final straw in what he says is increasingly dangerous ATV use on unmonitored roads

'Today, it was my dog. Tomorrow, it's a kid,' says Terry Casey

Terry Casey's beagle, Lucy, was killed in an ATV accident in the Goulds area of St. John's over the weekend. Casey said he and his family are devastated following the loss. (Submitted by Meagan Casey)

A St. John's man is calling for more enforcement around all-terrain vehicles on back roads in Newfoundland and Labrador after his pet was killed in an accident over the weekend.

Terry Casey was hunting for rabbits in the woods around the Goulds area of St. John's with his beagle, Lucy, when he noticed the dog turn back toward the main road, out of sight. After hearing a group of ATVs coming toward him, he decided to follow suit and leave the forest.

"As I was walking out, I heard a bunch of ATVs stop. And within about 50 feet of the road or so, I encountered a father who was out with a bunch of kids," Casey said, adding the father waved him over. 

"When I got out, of course right away he pointed to the road. And my beagle was hit by an ATV and left for dead on the side of the road."

Casey said his family, which includes his other beagle Bailey, is hurting, with the loss of Lucy counting as the loss of a family member.

"It's devastating. They are my hunting companions … but it's devastating," he said.

Casey, pictured with his other beagle Bailey, is calling for more enforcement on back roads after the death of Lucy. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

'A death trap'

Casey has been hunting for decades, and said as long as ATVs are used safely, he has no issue with them. But he said the accident that claimed Lucy's life is the latest in an increasing number of potentially dangerous incidents he has seen on the province's back roads.

"There just seems to be driving with reckless abandonment," he said, calling ATVS "as much a death trap as anybody who is in a vehicle texting. It's just crazy."

The problem is made worse with little to no policing, he said.

"When there's no enforcement, they're just going to do whatever they want," Casey told CBC News.

Casey said there could be more enforcement on trails, possibly leading to less fatal accidents in the future.

"I'm not saying the police are doing a bad job;I just don't think there's enough resources.… It's just an accident waiting to happen," he said.

"Today, it was my dog. Tomorrow, it's a kid." 

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed it is their responsibility to enforce the Highway Traffic Act when it comes to ATVs in areas like back roads, and encouraged the public to report any dangerous activity.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jeremy Eaton