That which seems unbelievable


Published on January 3, 2014

During my childhood I would read articles in the weekend newspapers entitled “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” This item usually appeared in the cartoon section of the Sunday paper and reported on bizarre events and situations.  In the past couple of weeks two separate news items could be considered worthy of Believe It or Not status.

The Dec. 12 issue of The Chronicle Herald carried the front page story of Ryan Taylor, an Annapolis County father of two. He was loading his car in preparation to pick up his wife and children who were visiting her mother just down the road. He had his car headlights on since he didn’t have an outside light. 

A four-wheeler carrying two men pulled up beside him in his drive. They wore camouflage outfits, had scarves covering half of their faces, and one had a hunting rifle.

They ordered Taylor to “Turn that…flashlight off.  We’re trying to hunt deer.” 

When Ryan Taylor told them they shouldn’t be hunting there…that it was a residential area with houses all around…one of the men smashed the rifle butt over the back of his head. The men beat and punched him with the rifle and a flashlight. At one point the rifle went off. 

As Taylor lay bleeding, he heard one of the men say, “I think we killed him,” and then they took off. Ryan Taylor crawled into his house and called 911. The police came and paramedics arrived to transport him to the hospital. Seventeen stitches were used to close two deep gashes on his head. 

Taylor knew his attackers. The two men who were out shining deer were Trevor Durling and Matthew Fredericks. Durling was charged with breaching court conditions and both men were charged with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public. 

It is strange enough that these men were willing to hunt illegally, but to attack a man in his own driveway because he pointed out the danger of hunting in a residential area is unbelievable. 

To top it off, Durling filed a formal complaint of assault against Taylor…saying he was injured in melee. It seems he didn’t think Ryan Taylor should try to defend himself. Understandably, the RCMP report no charges have been laid against Taylor.

Then there was another strange and sad incident in our own back yard. A story about a dog named Buddy who lived in the Joggins area was first reported by Pat Lee in The Chronicle Herald, and then covered in The Citizen-Record by Darrell Cole, and  also in Amherst News by Terri McCormick. Buddy was chained his whole life. Kind neighbours brought him food and water. People reported Buddy’s plight to the Nova Scotia SPCA and the RCMP, but current laws were not strong enough to save Buddy. Those laws will soon be changed. 

The real “kicker” in this story is that the rescuers had to pay the owner $200 before the owner would give up the dog. Buddy was in such bad shape he had to be euthanized. Health issues would not be the only problem for Buddy. He had never been socialized, and likely could not be trusted after seven years of isolation. Buddy was a husky mix.  A kennel - rather than a chain - with a warm dog house, walks, inside visits with the family, and a good supply of food and water…topped off with regular visits to the vet would have made all the difference.

An unbelievable story and yet, sadly…true.

Shirley Hallee’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.