The Alberta SPCA has opened an investigation after an Alberta man reported two dogs being transported on the back of a pickup truck over the weekend.
Joseph Dunbar was driving east on Highway 16, near Spruce Grove, on Sunday morning when he said a pickup truck went speeding past him on the highway.
“He flew past us like we were sitting still.”
After the truck passed Dunbar and his two kids, they saw that there were two dogs in the back of the truck that appeared to be sitting on a sliptank or a cover over the box.
Dunbar attempted to follow the driver to get a picture but said the truck was driving erratically, with the dogs above the truck bed.
“The dogs were obviously scared; they didn’t want to get up. Just the speed he was going was reckless,” he said. “I didn’t see any leashes, they weren’t tied down in any sense. He could have taken a fast turn and one of those dogs would have taken off onto the highway.
“[They were] sitting down, laying down, heads tucked down as far as they could. Even their facial expressions, you could clearly tell they were scared.”
When the truck turned off the highway toward Spruce Grove, Alta. Dunbar was able to catch up with the driver at a red light. He snapped a few pictures and put them on Facebook where his post has been shared thousands of times.
The RCMP confirmed on Tuesday they were contacted about the dogs, and spoke to the driver, but they will not be pursuing charges.
“We are not laying a charge and we are concluding the file,” Cpl. Laurel Scott said.
Alberta SPCA confirms they first heard about the Facebook post on Sunday, but couldn’t launch an investigation until they heard from the person who took the photos. Dunbar called the organization on Monday afternoon.
An investigation has been launched and should be completed “within a few days,” according to communications manager Roland Lines.
“This isn’t a very involved investigation, it’s relatively straightforward. He just needs to determine through motor vehicles who the owner of the vehicle is, then make arrangements to view the vehicle and determine exactly how the animals were being transported in it,” Lines said.
Charges could be laid under the Animal Protection Act.
“The regulations do talk about the compartment in which animals are being transported needs to be of adequate strength and height to adequately protect and contain the animals at all times,” Lines said. “There also has to be adequate footing or footholds of some sort for the animals and, just in general, the equipment needs to be in a condition that it’s not likely to cause any injury or undue suffering to animals.”
Lines couldn’t speculate whether the owner could possibly lose custody of the animals, or if charges would even be laid. Deciding whether to go forward with charges often depends on the “response of the owner to suggestions by our officer,” he said.
If charges are laid, the owner could be facing a $20,000 fine – the maximum allowed unto the act.