People who have hiked with Alan Via in the Catskills are too many to name. But one companion stands out, his Lab Bookah.
In his book The Catskill 67: A Hiker’s Guide to the Catskill 100 Highest Peaks under 3500’, Via writes: “I watched her grow up in the woods and become one of the best bushwhackers of them all. Wherever I am in the woods she is either right next to me or orbiting within sight. Her trust allowed me to become comfortable removing porcupine quills from dogs in the woods. Boo has her own 3500 Club certificate and is the first canine and second ‘female’ to complete the Catskill 67, probably having climbed them all three or more times.”
Sadly, a March 1 report in Albany’s Times Union newspaper revealed that Bookah died while hiking in the Catskills with Via, the victim of strychnine-laced meat that someone had placed deep in the woods.
Reporter Chris Churchill writes, “Via has come to believe the meat was left by a hunter hoping to protect the deer population by killing a coyote. There’s no way to prove that, of course, but there aren’t many plausible reasons for why strychnine would be placed so deeply in the woods. Via hopes publicizing Bookah’s death can prevent a repeat of his experience.”
Via shares this story as a caution to dog owners and to those who use poisoned bait in the woods for any reason.
To the latter: poisoned bait is not only illegal, but is a reckless and inhumane endangerment of all creatures. Please stop and use your better sense.
Rest in peace, Bookah.
Click here to read Chris Churchill’s full story: http://m.timesunion.com/local/article/Churchill-Poison-doesn-t-belong-in-the-woods-5280955.php