VANCOUVER — Langley dog walker Emma Paulsen has been charged with six offences under the Criminal Code of Canada and the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act after allegedly leaving six dogs in the back of her truck, where they all died from apparent heatstroke.
“This is a situation which is precedent setting. We are very pleased at Crown’s decision to approve charges under pretty much every single possible section of animal cruelty that could have been in this particular case,” Marcie Moriarty of the SPCA, told Global News.
The charges under the Criminal Code include killing or injuring an animal, causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, failing to provide adequate care to the dogs and mischief. The Crown also invoked a newer preventative section of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act – enacted in 2012 – which makes it an offence to fail to provide adequate care to an animal.
Moriarty said a case of this scope – both in terms of the charges and the type tragedy – hasn’t been seen before in Canada.
Global News reported previously that Paulsen had apparently left the six animals under her care in the back of her truck in May of this year, when she went into a store to run an errand. When she returned, they had all died. Paulsen then panicked and allegedly concocted a story about the dogs being stolen, which led to an almost week-long search for the animals.
“It’s a catastrophic tragedy she will regret for the rest of her life,” Paulsen’s mother told Global News earlier this year.
For the dogs’ owners, the news of the charges is what they’ve been waiting to hear. “It’s good news that justice will be served against her for what she put everybody through,” Amber Williams, an owner of one of the dogs, told Global News.
“I don’t think it really gets any easier because they suffered and that’s the part I don’t think I’ll ever get past,” said Jennifer Myers, who owned Buddy.
If convicted, Paulsen faces up to five years in jail, a fine of $75,000 and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
–With files from Kristen Robinson and Paula Baker.
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