WATCH (above): RCMP and the SPCA are investigating dog walker Emma Paulsen, who claimed the six dogs had been stolen. Yesterday, she admitted that they had died of heat exhaustion in the back of her truck. Our Rumina Daya has more on the story.
UPDATE: Emma Paulsen’s mother speaks to Global News — see story below.
An almost week long search for six missing dogs in Langley has ended in tragedy.
RCMP have confirmed the dogs have died, and believe they passed away in the dog walker’s vehicle from heatstroke. The dog walker, Emma Paulsen was taken into custody, according to Mounties, but was later released. They say it could take up to three months for charges to be laid.
According to Petsearchers Canada spokesperson Al MacLellan, the dog walker admitted to him that she left the six dogs in the back of her truck, which resulted in them all dying of heatstroke. When she found the dogs dead, Paulsen panicked and concocted a story to cover up what had happened.
READ MORE: How to choose a dog walker you can trust
Langley RCMP have found the dogs and are turning them over to the SPCA, which will be conducting a separate investigation into their treatment. Criminal charges are a possibility.
MacLellan says Paulsen was going through personal turmoil before this incident.
“This young lady has been going through some serious family issues and is on medication for panic attacks,” he said.
“The dogs were left inside the pickup, according to her, with water and the side vents of the canopy open — and they perished in the heat.”
It was at that time, MacLellan said that Paulsen made up the story and went and hid the bodies.
WATCH MORE: Missing dogs are dead
The initial story Paulsen reported was that the dogs were stolen from the back of her pick-up truck from the Brookswood off-leash park, while she was in the washroom, near 206 Street and 44th Avenue in Langley on May 13.
Paulsen’s mother spoke to Global News and said she had no idea these dogs were dead until yesterday when her daughter came to her crying and saying, ‘she couldn’t lie anymore.’
According to Paulsen’s mother, her daughter had run into a store to run an errand and intended to be back in a few minutes but instead it ended up being 45 minutes. When Paulsen returned to the truck, the dogs which included her son’s dog, were dead.
Paulsen’s mother said her daughter is devastated, she adored animals and had grown up with them. Apparently she had seven years experience as a dog walker and had wanted to do this job for the rest of her life.
“In 45 minutes she lost her best friends, lost her livelihood, and her good reputation,” Paulsen’s mother told Global News.
“It’s a catastrophic tragedy she will regret for the rest of her life.”
The information provides little comfort for the owners of the deceased dogs.
“None of this brings back our third child, for all intents and purposes,” said Lyndon King, the owner of Teemo, one of the dogs.
“In some respects I feel bad for her, but I wish she would have told us at the get go.”
Cpl. Holly Marks with Langley RCMP says the dead dogs were found in Abbotsford.
“Investigation is ongoing at this point, and we’re going to be preparing some documentation to forward to the Crown prosecutor,” says Marks.
Mischief charges related to filing a false police report and animal cruelty charges are possible.
The SPCA is in the process of conducting necropsies on the dogs.