The Winnipeg Airport Authority has come under fire from animal rights groups for shooting a rescue dog that managed to break away from her kennel and run loose on the runway.
A rescue dog was shot and killed at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Canada on Monday after it escaped its kennel on an aircraft and ran around on the tarmac, causing flights to be diverted.
Greta the dog, a golden lab mix, was shot by a wildlife control officer after staff's half-hour long chase yielded no results.
"Unfortunately, one of our wildlife control officers was forced to use lethal force on a feral dog on the airfield … it's always an incredibly difficult situation or decision that they have to make in those kinds of situations," said Tyler MacAfee, the Winnipeg Airport Authority's director of corporate communications and public affairs.
Stressing that the measure was only applied as a last resort, MacAfee said officers would only shoot an animal if "there was a threat to aviation safety."
"We did everything we could for her," he added.
Manitoba Mutts executive director Rebecca Norman told the Winnipeg Free Press that Greta was likely very scared after being chased, but was never aggressive and always friendly.
"She was afraid, she had never been on an airplane before. [The dog] jumped out and was being chased by people with guns and vehicles. I think any dog would run from that situation," Norman said.
Evidence showed that Greta chewed through her plastic kennel to make a hole to escape, but also revealed that she was put into a different kennel than what Manitoba Mutts had provided, which was a larger metal kennel. The swap was made by Perimeter airline workers without the knowledge of the rescue group.
Transport Canada has been called upon to investigate the incident.
Although the airport's wildlife control team is licensed to carry firearms on the airfield, MacAfee said they rarely use their guns.
Norman said buying stronger kennels or using tranquilizer guns instead of shotguns to contain animals could be a solution.
Two-year-old Greta was set to be adopted by a first-time foster family, who was waiting at the Winnipeg airport.