Hunter Left Helpless While Dog Attacked by Shark During Duck Hunt
Pepper was no ordinary dog. As a Chesapeake retriever, she was bred and trained by her owner, a seasoned sea-duck hunter, to fetch ducks from the calm waters off Toby’s Island near Port Medway, Nova Scotia. Pepper was on her second duck retrieval mission when tragedy struck.
Without warning, a large shark erupted from the depths, lifting Pepper into the air and pushing her beneath the water, For The Win reports. The dog’s owner could only watch helplessly.
“It happened so quickly and was so shocking that even though I was looking right at her when it happened, I cannot say for certain what type of shark it was,” the hunter said.
Pepper, miraculously resurfacing, struggled back to the boat, but her injuries were fatal, Global News reports.
Community Shock and Solidarity
News of Pepper’s attack sent shockwaves through the community. Local residents took to social media to express their condolences and support for Pepper’s grieving owner.
While such occurrences are incredibly rare, they serve as a stark reminder of the untamed nature lurking just below the serene surface of our oceans. Tonya Wimmer, executive director of the Marine Animal Response Society, said the shark may have mistook Pepper for a seal.
“Assuming it was a white shark, it’s just doing what sharks do,” Wimmer told Global News.
A Glimpse into Shark Behavior
As local shark expert, Capt. Art Gaetan of Atlantic Shark Expeditions, told Outdoor Life, that based on Pepper’s owner’s estimation of its size, roughly 2.4 meters (just under 8 feet) long, the predator is believed to have been a juvenile Great White.
Sharks of this size typically inhabit these waters, and while Pepper didn’t become the shark’s meal, the bite proved to be fatal.
Sharing a Cautionary Tale
Pepper’s owner, who had been hunting sea ducks for years, had never heard of a dog being attacked by a shark during a duck retrieval mission.
“I was very close to shore, in about 20 feet of water, and my dog was only in the water for a matter of minutes,” he said. “To my knowledge, this is the first time a dog has been taken during a sea-ducking hunt, and it is certainly the first time I have witnessed the violence of such an attack so close to my boat.”
Marine life can be unpredictable and wild. While Pepper’s owner hopes that sharing his experience will lead to a better understanding of shark behavior and help others make safer choices in the ocean, the community, dog lovers, and ocean enthusiasts can only hope that such incidents remain exceedingly rare.
When you do make plans to visit in the ocean, always follow local laws and look for further guidance from any officials, lifeguards, and experts. Heeding these warnings can help keep you safe and lower the shark attack numbers.
You can keep others safe, too, Take the Safe Shark Waters Pledge and share these facts with your friends and family.
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