The BC SPCA is recommending animal cruelty charges against owner who travelled from Fraser Valley to the Okanagan during the heatwave.
A dog that was pictured inside a crate and strapped to the back of an RV on a highway during a record-breaking heat dome in B.C. is now safe and has been seized from its owner.
The 6-year-old male German Shepherd, who appeared to be heavily panting in photos taken by witnesses, was pictured in the crate on the eastbound stretch of Highway 3 towards Osoyoos on Sunday, June 27, as the Interior of B.C. saw temperatures soar into the high 30s and 40s.
A spokeswoman for the BC SPCA said the owner was driving from the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan - a journey that can take between 3 and 4 hours.
Witness Heather Peters posted photos of the dog on Facebook asking other road users to report the owner, saying “to witness this is horrible.”
Another road user Lisa Bohn posted on Facebook saying she had also reported the incident to the BC SPCA and tried to get the owner’s attention to pull over.
BC SPCA animal protection officers seized the dog on June 30, and are preparing to recommend animal cruelty charges.
Lorie Chortyk of the BC SPCA said the dog was now safe and receiving “lots of love and attention from SPCA staff” after the charity was able to “act quickly to locate the dog and to apply for a warrant to seize him.”
“We deal with hundreds of calls each summer to rescue pets in distress in hot vehicles, but this situation was definitely a first for us," she added.
“He is not available for adoption at this time, as we have to follow the legal steps in the process before he is ours to rehome. We are truly grateful to everyone who reached out to help this poor dog.”
The dog had eventually been located by RCMP officers in Oliver, BC on Sunday, June 28, after a social media appeal by witnesses who had seen the dog in sweltering temperatures on the highway.
Sgt Jason Bayda, Media Relations Officer for the Penticton South Okanagan Regional RCMP said on Sunday that the public and media’s attention had helped them locate the dog in Oliver, BC, which he said was “doing well.”
If charged and convicted, the owner could face a maximum fine of $75,000 and a jail term of up to two years under the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
If you see an animal in distress, please contact the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.