News

SPCA investigating dog-dragging on Gabriola Island

Veterinarian Brent Crutchfield, left, applies burn cream to Molly
Veterinarian Brent Crutchfield, left, applies burn cream to Molly's injuries as Trish Drybrough, technical assistant, keeps her calm at Island Veterinary Hospital Wednesday. The dog's owner is being investigated by the B.C. SPCA after she was dragged behind his pickup truck Saturday.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

The B.C. SPCA is investigating after a dog was dragged behind a pickup truck and seriously injured on the weekend.

The incident happened on Gabriola Island Saturday night. The B.C. SPCA was notified by veterinary staff on Gabriola Island after the dog's owner brought her in for treatment.

Leon Davis, Nanaimo SPCA shelter manager, said Molly, a two-year-old wirehaired pointing griffon, had patches of her knees and shoulders was ground down to tendon and bone.

Molly was received at Twin Cedars Veterinary Services on Gabriola and transferred to Island Veterinary Hospital in Nanaimo.

The dog's owner turned her over voluntarily to the SPCA when it was determined he could not afford treatment costs, which will range between $3,000 and $4,000. Those will be covered by the SPCA.

Marcie Moriarty, B.C SPCA general manager of cruelty investigations, confirmed there will be an investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the dog's injuries and whether the incident was the result of an accident, negligence or willful intent.

"The dog was in just terrible condition as you can obviously anticipate," Moriarty said. "Our constables are looking into what exactly happened in this case."

Davis said he is trying to coordinate an interview between the owner and his legal representative and a B.C. SPCA investigator.

Little factual information about the case has been confirmed so far.

"Witness statements – not witnesses that saw it, but witnesses from when he sought care for the animal – are saying that he claimed that he'd tied the dog to the back of the truck and driven off," Davis said. "And witnesses have said that he smelled strongly of alcohol. Again that's unsubstantiated, but that's something we'll be looking into, if alcohol was a factor."

Davis said another version of the story he heard is that Molly was tied in the back of the pickup and fell out when its tailgate opened.

"It's actually an offence to have a dog in the back of a pickup truck anyway," he said. "The Motor Vehicle Act considers it an unsecured load."

A dog carried in a the back of a truck must be in an animal crate which is securely tied down.

The treatment for Molly's injuries will require several operations. There are large, black leathery patches of  skin on her shoulders that will have to be removed and replaced with skin grafts.

Veterinarian Brent Crutchfield of Island Veterinary Hospital said the first skin graft operations could start Thursday (June 9).

Molly will be sent to a foster home to recover.

Davis said there have been numerous calls from people offering to adopt her, but she cannot be put up for adoption until after the BCSPCA's investigation is complete.

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