WAG staff shaken by attempted break-in 

'It was an absolutely terrifying experience'

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Staff at the community's only animal shelter was left shaken after a "violent" man attempted to break into the facility to retrieve his impounded dog last week.

At around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, police responded to an incident at Whistler Animals Galore on Nesters Road, where the 38-year-old local man was reportedly trying to gain access to the shelter afterhours.

According to an email from WAG communications coordinator Catherine Mazza, the man "angrily banged on the door and yelled at us, accusing us of stealing his dog." Bylaw officers reportedly impounded the dog after it was found unattended on municipal property.

Mazza said the man was seen kicking the glass door when staff called 911. He then tried to gain access by ramming a rock and a metal bike rack against the door, before dragging the rack to an open window at the rear of the facility to try and climb in.

"We frantically ran around the shelter to secure any remaining doors, windows, and animals, while we called police," Mazza wrote. "It was an absolutely terrifying experience."

The man was arrested for mischief and subsequently released on conditions with a future court date, police said.

While many are grateful their dogs are safe and cared for at WAG while impounded, Mazza said shelter employees "regularly receive abuse from frustrated dog owners." She added that many people mistakenly blame WAG for impounding their dogs.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time WAG has been involved in similar and dangerous situations, but we are grateful to the community and the municipality for their compassion and understanding, and we know it will drive positive change," Mazza said.

What that change looks like at this point is unclear, but Mazza did note there have already been talks about the need to update WAG's policy around the handling of impounded dogs.

"The safety of our staff is the highest priority," she added.

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