Langley RCMP have confirmed that six dogs reported stolen from a local dog walker's truck last Tuesday, weren't stolen at all, but died in the back of the truck from heat stroke.
'That she could be that irresponsible and torment the families for five days who wanted to know where their dogs are and give us hope.' - Colleen King, dog owner
Cpl. Holly Marks says police are investigating the incident as a case of public mischief and the rest of the investigation has been turned over to the B.C. SPCA.
Colleen King, one of the six dog owners, says the Langley RCMP have since told her the dogs were never at the Langley park.
Instead, they were left in the back of the dog walker's truck outside a business in Richmond and later dumped in Abbotsford, said King, whose dog Teemo, a grey Bouvier-Poodle cross, died with the other animals.
"It was one of our concerns from day one that this was a possible scenario," she said.
"But we just didn’t want to believe that was the case. And that she could be that irresponsible and torment the families for five days who wanted to know where their dogs are and to give us hope they’re still alive."
The news broke late Monday afternoon after a professional pet search agency that was retained by the owners of the six dogs including the dog walker herself made the revelation on its website under the title, "Rest in Peace, Brookswood 6."
In a statement posted to its website Monday, Petsearchers Canada claimed the dog walker, under questioning, admitted to them the dogs had perished from heat stroke in the back of her truck.
"Upon arriving at the location and seeing her beloved charges deceased, she went into a blind panic at the thought of notifying the families and the possible repercussions," says the statement on Petsearchers.com's website.
"In a complete state of shock and panic, she made a desperate attempt to cover up what had happened and concocted a story to explain the loss of the dogs."
The RCMP later posted a statement confirming police believe the six dogs perished in the back of the dog walker's vehicle in the heat of the day.
Alleged theft sparked search
Last week, police said the dogs were stolen while the pickup truck was parked in the 4400 block of 206 Street in Langley, B.C.
RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks said at the time the dog walker had taken the dogs to an off-leash park in Brookswood and put them in the back of her pickup truck with a canopy, so she could use the washroom.
"When she returned 10 minutes later, the canopy had been unlatched and all six dogs were gone," said Marks.
The apparent theft launched a search by the distraught dog owners and a media campaign.
At least two pet owners later claimed they had been contacted by someone offering to sell back their dogs.
Alesha MacLellan, who with her husband Al, runs the Petsearchers agency, said there was something not quite right about the story, so they had a long conversation with the dog walker.
"There was more to the story than met the eye, based on some things we had heard during the investigation, and [Al] went today and met with her and she basically made a confession as to what had actually happened," said MacLellan.
"He made sure that following the conversation she went to the police station to make full disclosure of all the details so the families could be afforded some closure in this situation."
One of the dogs, which died, was owned by the dog walker herself. CBC is not naming her because charges have yet to be laid.
The missing dogs, who died, are:
- Mia – A black and white pit bull.
- Teemo – A grey Bouvier-Poodle cross.
- Buddy – A black and white Boston terrier.
- Oscar – A black and brown Rottweiler-Husky cross.
- Salty – A Border Collie.
- Molly – A grey and black Blue Heeler-shepherd cross.