UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.
A dog in distress that was spotted strapped in a crate behind a recreational trailer travelling on highways through the B.C. southern Interior has been found safe and sound.
"On June 27, 2021 several media agencies contacted the RCMP looking into the matter,” says Sgt Jason Bayda, media relations officer for the Penticton South Okanagan Regional RCMP.
“At the time, the location of the RV and well-being of the dog was unknown. I am pleased to tell you, that thanks to the public and media’s attention to this incident, the dog has now been located in Oliver, B.C. and is doing well.”
Oliver RCMP are now working with the BC SPCA enforcement officers to determine potential applicable charges in this matter, and are "taking next steps to ensure the dog's continued safety."
ORIGINAL: 12 p.m.
"I was horrified."
A B.C. woman could not believe her eyes when she saw a dog in a crate attached to a trailer hitch speeding down the highway.
Lisa Bohn and her husband were travelling near the Hope Scales on Highway 1 around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. They spotted a truck towing a motorhome trailer, then behind that, a dog crate.
"My husband decided to speed up a bit to catch up, because I was like, I need to confirm that there's no dog in that crate," Bohn says.
"And sure enough, there was a dog in that crate. It looked like it had wet fur, it did not look good. It would try to stand up and would fall down and slide down through the little holes on the back of the carrier."
Shocked and worried, they decided to pull up in the lane next to the truck's driver side. Bohn waved frantically, to no avail.
"He would not acknowledge us. His eyes didn't even shift towards us," Bohn says. "At that point, I was like, he knows what he's doing. He wasn't even flinching. If someone was doing that to me, I would look."
They tried again on the passenger side, trying to get the woman sitting there's attention. Again, she stared straight ahead.
They lost the truck when it sped by them, appearing to head for Highway 3 or 5. Bohn made some calls to local police, and posted photos she had taken of the vehicle to Facebook, hoping to get the word out.
Later that night, a call came in to Keremeos RCMP from a person who believed they saw the vehicle driving through the area on Highway 3, though could not confirm if there was a dog in the crate.
Rumours are now circulating that the vehicle was stopped and ticketed in Osoyoos and that the dog was taken from the owners, but Sgt. Jason Bayda, Osoyoos detachment commander, says that has not happened in his area.
"And I can't find any file that's written right now to find out if they happen anywhere else at this point," Bayda told Castanet Monday morning.
"So as of right now I can't confirm at all that the vehicle has been located. We do, from the photos, know that the vehicle is registered to a company out of Maple Ridge. And if the vehicle hasn't been located by another detachment that we're not aware, then we're going to be following up with the owner of the vehicle."
For Bohn, she is now just waiting and hoping hard to hear news of a happy ending.
"After I reported it, and my nerves calmed down, I cried," Bohn recalls, thinking of her own dog, panting in her vehicle even with the A/C on full blast, and how scared and distressed the dog in the crate must have been roaring down the highway.
"I just broke down, started to cry."
Eileen Drever, a BC SPCA senior officer for protection and stakeholders relations, had a similar outraged reaction.
"I just can't imagine the distress this dog was under, not just with the temperatures but with the senses, and the cars, and it's just, it's absolutely horrific to even contemplate, putting a dog in a crate in the back of an RV," Drever says.
She adds the organization has received a number of calls from people who spotted the vehicle, and they will be working with RCMP on finding the dog and its owners.
It is an open investigation, so Drever could not comment on specifics, but she explained how animal cruelty charges generally work and what her experience tells her about this situation.
"I look at this dog and see it being in distress. Not just physically but psychologically as well. That's my opinion, we'd have to get an animal behaviours' opinion on that. But certainly, the dog met meets the definition of being in distress and that's an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act," Drever explains.
"And the maximum penalty under our legislation is a $75,000 fine. And/or a prohibition from owning animals. And/or a two year time in prison."
Bottom line, Drever says, is nobody should ever put their dog in this position.
"I just can't understand people's reasoning behind this. These dogs are sentient beings. And they should be recognized as sentient beings."
If you spot this vehicle, reach out to your local RCMP detachment.