Concerns raised at 5 Wing

Jamie Lewis
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After the fire this summer on 5 Wing, personnel discovered that a pet cemetery was unearthed and this has put the base in a situation on what can be done to prevent people from bringing their pets to their final resting place on Base.

“We cannot speculate as to who is burying their pets on the base, but our troops do not do it, plain and simple,” said Captain Dave Bowen, Public Affairs Officer.

Capt. Bowen said that it is tradition of the military to respect all gravesites and that includes those of people’s pets.

The problem is now because of the amount of gravesites on Base, predatory animals, such as wolves and foxes, have begun digging up some of the graves and making off with remains of someone’s pet.

“We have wolves and foxes in the area digging up some of these graves and the other problem is that this is a military training area, so we have a concern that these graves could be disturbed by the regular on-goings on the Base,” he added.

Capt. Bowen said it is a real fine balance on how they do things on 5 Wing and Command understands that people want a dignified place for their pets to rest.

“We totally understand that, but a military training area tends to be used robustly and the last thing we want to see is an armored vehicle damaging someone’s pet resting place,” he said.

Capt. Bowen said the other concern is that people snowmobile in the area and with the substantial gravesites located on Base, some could get damaged or people’s sleds could be damaged, as well as riders could be injured.

“I am hoping that we could come to some resolution about people bringing their pets remains to the Base and burying them. Right now we have counted about seven new graves in the area,” he said.

Capt. Bowen said that patrols would be stepped up to deter people from bringing their pets to the Base for burial.

“At this point we want to make this an educational thing. To educate them that it is not a good thing or an appropriate place intern their pets on a military base,” said Capt. Bowen.

Capt. Bowen said another concern on the Base is people who come on the Base to walk have to stay on the trails and not wander into the wooded area.

“Since the fire, many hazards have been unearthed such as vehicles, bed frames, pieces of metal, as well as old oil drums. When we say stick to the trail system, there is a real good reason to do so.”

Capt. Bowen said during a routine check on the Base, evidence was found maybe illegal hunting has been going on the Base.

“We came across a moose caucus that had been cleaned and left near the military camp parking lot at Camp Alexander. People may not know this, but there is no hunting allowed on DND land,” he added.

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  • Jason Bright
    November 11, 2012 - 23:40

    I was just up to Goose Bay visiting relatives last month and I did some exploring out behind the base when I came across the makeshift pet cemetery. A few dozen graves, and at least one partially uncovered with bones poking through. For the most part the graves are in between trees or very close to some trees and probably out of the way of snowmobiles.