VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A dog that was seen in a crate strapped to the back of an RV on a B.C. highway during the sweltering heatwave over the weekend has been seized from its owner, who could be charged with animal cruelty.
Images of the dog in the crate were posted on social media Sunday, when temperatures climbed into the 30s and 40s across the southern Interior. RCMP announced Monday the dog was found at a campground in Oliver.
“It looks like (the owners) came from the Lower Mainland up to the Interior,” Sgt. Jason Bayda with South Okanagan RCMP said Monday. “What we’re being told is the rationale behind it was that there was no room in the vehicle and it would have been too hot in the trailer, so I guess this is what they thought was the next best option, albeit not a a very good one.”
The BC SPCA says it obtained a warrant and took the dog away from its owner on Wednesday. It’s now in the care of the SPCA, which is recommending charges of animal cruelty.
“The dog is getting great care. He’s getting lots of love and attention. We’re now following the legal steps in the process,” Lorie Chortyk with the BC SPCA said Friday.
That process includes giving the owner 14 days to file an appeal.
The dog is not currently available for adoption.
“We received so many calls about this dog,” Chortyk said.
Lisa Bohn was one person who spotted the animal. She says she and her family were headed to the 100 Mile area when the RV passed them near Hope.
“As we caught up to him, both my husband and I were like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a dog crate on the back of the trailer,’” she recalled.
She told NEWS 1130 she was horrified by what she saw and reported the incident to the RCMP.
Bohn posted the photos she took on Facebook to try to locate the RV occupants. She says her post “blew right up,” being widely shared by people and groups.
She says another person even notified her that the same RV was seen in Abbotsford, and elsewhere all the way to Osoyoos.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I’ve been a dog owner since I was little, and we had our own dog in our truck, in the A/C. It was, at that point, 41 degrees or 42 degrees out,” Bohn said. “It tears me up because I have my own dog. I know what the heat does to them … I don’t have words to say how angry and upset I was.”
The dog is visible in other photos posted to Facebook. In one image, the canine is seen with its tongue hanging out as it pants in the heat.
Sgt. Jason Bayda, commander of the Osoyoos RCMP detachment, says police received a call from someone who had spotted the dog in Keremeos just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
He says the person who reported the incident couldn’t see if the dog was in the crate when the RV was passing through Hope heading east.
“Regardless, looking at the photos, when for sure they were taken we don’t know, but it’s surely appalling to think anyone could treat an animal that way,” he told NEWS 1130.
Speaking Monday, the BC SPCA’s senior officer of protection said she was shocked when she heard what happened.
“I can’t imagine the psychological distress this dog would be under back there. Of course, the heat was incredibly, incredibly hot (Sunday). The record-breaking temperatures — I just can’t imaging how much distress, both psychologically and physically, this dog was suffering,” she said.
If found guilty, a person convicted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act could see a penalty of up to $75,000. The maximum penalty can also come with a prohibition from owning animals and/or a two-year prison term.
With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Monika Gul