The Chesapeake Bay retriever named Pepper made it back to the boat, but died from her wounds
A shark attacked a duck hunter’s dog during a sea duck hunt off the coast of Medway Head in Nova Scotia.
The hunter was able to pull Pepper, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, out of the water, but the dog died shortly after from its injuries.
Shark attacks on dogs in Canada’s coastal Atlantic waters are rare, but they have happened.
National Post reports that the attack occurred around 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 19, 2023. The hunter, who declined to be identified, sent Pepper into the ocean to retrieve a duck that he shot from the boat.
“I have been on the ocean hunting sea ducks for years, and I am familiar with many other local hunters that do the same,” the hunter said in a written statement to SaltWire. “When the ocean is calm and the ducks fall near the boat, it is common practice to send a dog into the ocean to retrieve the waterfowl. This is what these dogs are bred and trained for.”
According to the hunter, the shark “erupted from below” Pepper, lifted her into the air, and pushed her under the surface.
“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 told SaltWire.
The severely wounded dog managed to swim back to the boat, but died after being hauled to safety. The hunter said he’d never before heard of a dog being attacked by a shark in a situation like this.
Art Gaetan of Atlantic Shark Expeditions told SaltWire that the shark, which the hunter estimated to be around 8 feet long, was likely a juvenile great white shark, which usually feed on the seals in the area.
“There’s no other sharks here this close in at this time of the year,” Gaetan said.
Gaetan told the National Post that the sharks sometimes attack deer swimming near the coast. He said, in this case, Pepper was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.