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'The hardest thing I've ever had to do': Regina family has to have dog euthanized after injury at dog park

A Regina woman is speaking out after her two-year-old dog Cooper, back, had to be put down after tripping over rocks at the Ross Industrial Dog Park. (Submitted by Nicole Fellner - image credit)
A Regina woman is speaking out after her two-year-old dog Cooper, back, had to be put down after tripping over rocks at the Ross Industrial Dog Park. (Submitted by Nicole Fellner - image credit)

What started out as a normal visit to the dog park turned into a tragic day for Nicole Fellner and her family after their two-year-old dog, Cooper, injured herself and had to be put down.

Fellner said the incident took place on Sunday at the off-leash dog park in Regina's Ross Industrial Park, which also has a stormwater detention pond.

She said Cooper was chasing a ball that rolled too far toward the drainage area. Cooper caught her paw on a large rock, tripped and broke her spine.

Nicole Fellner says her dog was euthanized after sustaining injuries at a Regina dog park that is also a storm water detention pond. Fellner says the dog broke its spine after tripping over one of the large rocks meant to prevent flooding.
Nicole Fellner says her dog was euthanized after sustaining injuries at a Regina dog park that is also a storm water detention pond. Fellner says the dog broke its spine after tripping over one of the large rocks meant to prevent flooding.

Nicole Fellner says her dog was euthanized after sustaining injuries at a Regina dog park that is also a storm water detention pond. Fellner says the dog broke its spine after tripping over one of the large rocks meant to prevent flooding. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

After rushing Cooper to a vet, the family had to have her put her down.

Fellner said the hardest part is seeing her daughter mourn the loss.

"I've had to explain to my five-year-old what death was and why our dog wasn't coming home with us from the dog park," she said, "which was the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

LISTEN | Regina family warns others about hazards in local dog park:

Fellner said her family has reached out to the city about the incident, but has not been able to get past reception. So far the family has only been given a file number, she said.

Fellner said she wants to chat with the city to find ways to ensure other dogs and their families don't go through the same thing.

"I have a lot of ideas that I would really like to share with them. If they would take the time to have a chat with me, it would be great," she said.

She said removing large boulders from the park would be a start.

An X-ray image shows the damage to Cooper's spine.
An X-ray image shows the damage to Cooper's spine.

An X-ray image shows the damage to Cooper's spine. (Submitted by Nicole Fellner)

CBC News reached out to the City of Regina about the incident. In an emailed response, the city shared condolences for the family and said the rocks are used to aid with flood prevention. The statement went on to say that an investigation will take place.

"As we thank the resident for sharing information about the incident with the City, we also take the opportunity to assure residents that we take matters like this seriously and will evaluate the park to determine if additional safety measures are needed," the statement said.

Fellner said she's warning other owners about the area and hopes they will be cautious when visiting.

"I know [dog parks] are designed as places to be safe for dogs. They're not always as safe as they seem. Just take the extra diligence," she said.