Six missing dogs died of heat stroke in back of dog walker's truck
Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:03AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:54PM EDT
The bodies of six dogs initially reported stolen from the back of a dog walker’s truck were found dumped in a ditch in Abbotsford, B.C., says a spokesperson for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Lorie Chortyk said the agency transferred the bodies to a lab for necropsies on Tuesday. The results are expected within the week, and will be included in a report to Crown counsel, which will determine if animal cruelty charges should be laid.
According to Langley RCMP, the dogs died in in the back of the truck from heat stroke the same day they were reported stolen by the dog walker Emma Paulsen. Temperatures that day were as high as 25 degrees. In a hot car, Chortyk said, animals can suffer heat exhaustion or even death within 10 minutes.
Last week, Paulsen told police she had left her truck briefly to use the washroom, and that the dogs were gone when she returned. She said the back canopy of the truck had been unlatched.
“We now believe the dogs perished after having been left in the back of a vehicle while the dog walker went into a business and they perished in the heat," Cpl. Holly Marks told CTV News.
Marks said she believes Paulsen realized that the dogs were dead when she returned to her truck.
“The dog walker did not surrender to police but we have spoken with her and at this point we’ve been able to recover the bodies,” said Marks.
According to a statement posted to Petsearchers Canada’s website, Paulsen admitted to them that she had initially said the dogs had been stolen -- a story she made up in a “complete state of shock and panic,” said Petsearchers Canada.
The organization, hired by the owners of the missing pets, said Paulsen had told them the dogs were in the back of her truck with the side vents open.
“Nonetheless it was a very hot day and they perished,” said Petsearchers Canada spokesman Al MacLellan.
MacLellan said he approached Paulsen to let know her know he “suspected that things weren’t as described,” and told her she needed to go to the police station.
The RCMP have not yet laid charges, but are now looking into a possible charge of public mischief. Meanwhile, the SPCA have taken over a second investigation for the alleged mistreatment of the dogs, and RCMP say they will assist that effort.
Marcie Moriarty of the B.C. SPCA says she will consider charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act or the Criminal Code.
Under B.C. legislation, animal cruelty has a maximum penalty of $75,000 or two years in jail, while those charged under the Criminal Code face up to a $5,000 fine and 18 months behind bars.
“Six dogs allegedly dying in a hot car -- every summer I talk about dogs in hot cars and you know what -- it’s one of those topics that boils my blood,” Moriarty told CTV News. “It should not happen.”
With files from CTV Vancouver and the Canadian Press