Dog walker faces jail time in ‘Brookswood Six’ case
B.C. SPCA recommends 18 charges against a dog walker after the deaths of six dogs alleged to have been killed by heatstroke due to being left in a hot vehicle. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
"We feel that recklessness was present in this particular case. The result was the death of six dogs." —Marcie Moriarty, SPCA
The filing of animal cruelty charges in the heatstroke deaths of six dogs in Langley will be the first time the Criminal Code has been used in a case involving animal fatalities caused by being left in a hot vehicle, said the B.C. SPCA.
The case is known as the Brookswood Six and according to cruelty investigations manager Marcie Moriarty, the dog walker accused in the deaths faces 18 counts — three charges for each dog’s life.
“The section would be looking at causing unnecessary suffering, failure to provide adequate care and shelter, and causing death essentially,” she said, adding criminal charges were chosen because of the alleged “recklessness” involved in the deaths.
“The maximum (sentence) under these sections would be up to 18 months in prison, up to $10,000 fine, and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.”
Moriarty said preliminary necropsy reports are confirming the dogs died from heatstroke, as suggested by private investigators Petsearchers Canada, who were citing an interview they had with the walker.
Alesha MacLellan, spokeswoman for Petsearchers, said her organization is “in support” of the SPCA’s decision.
“Our part of the investigation was getting the truth,” she said. “As soon as we heard what the outcome was, at that point, we needed to step back and allow the RCMP and SPCA to do their formal investigation.”
Moriarty said the results of charges being recommended was not prompted by an online petition that had reached nearly 100,000 signatories by Monday afternoon.
She said the case was a top priority for the SPCA — the lead investigator actually came back from vacation to be part of the team.
The dog walker’s name is not being released by the SPCA pending charge approval by the Crown.
The dogs were initially believed to be stolen. Petsearchers said the dog walker came out with the truth six days after the deaths on May 13.