City officials moved quickly in Chilliwack after reports of dead seagulls at the Bailey landfill.

UPDATED Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack site of strange seagull deaths

It was first thought to be birds who ate decomposing garbage but now it looks like canine attack is to blame, say officials.

The Bailey Sanitary Landfill in Chilliwack was shut down for part of Thursday as officials investigated reports of dead and dying seagulls.

It was first thought to be birds who ate decomposing garbage but now city officials say it looks more like canine attack of some sort is to blame.

About 20 dead seagulls were reported Thursday morning at the landfill, officials confirmed.

Some of the bird corpses were sent to a Ministry of Agriculture laboratory to be autopsied, and results are surprising.

Many had wounds, and those injuries were ultimately found to be the cause of death, according to the preliminary autopsy reports shared with city staff.

Poisons or toxins from the garbage were not found to be causal factors. It is believed that canine attack or predation by either dogs, coyotes or foxes, possibly working in packs, were the cause.

The phenomenon of bird mortalities at the landfill is not unheard of, but city staff said it had not been seen in Chilliwack for a long time. The landfill is now in the midst of a $6 million expansion and part of that process uncovered an older section of waste this week.But that is not thought to be a key factor in the bird deaths either.

The site was shut down as a precaution on Thursday, and an occupational hygienist team from BCIT was dispatched to assess the air quality at the Chilliwack landfill. They were the individuals spotted at the site in white safety gear.

A range of government agencies were contacted and informed of the bird die-off incident from Fraser Health and Ministry of Environment, to Worksafe BC and more.

The air quality at the site was also tested, and confirmed to be safe, posing no health risks for workers or area residents, said staff.

The landfill was reopened by later that afternoon after a section at the base of the west cell was covered over once more to limit exposure, until it is known exactly what they’re dealing with.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Chilliwack homeless camp given eviction notice

Inside the camp that will be removed by Monday RCMP according to trespass notice

Missing Chilliwack teen found ‘safe and sound’

Boy found just as mother was organizing search

Chilliwack Rotary club reports $4,200 theft at storage shed

Rotary Train Shed adjacent to homeless camp on reserve land broken into Oct. 15

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

UPDATE: Chilliwack mother issues plea for info on missing son

Informal search party organized for 13-year-old boy not seen since Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

VIDEO: Body discovered at scene of dumpster fire behind Langley City mall

Area behind furniture store taped off after firefighters find deceased woman while battling blaze

Most Read