A 41-year-old man has been charged after taking a dog through an automatic car wash in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the back of a pickup truck.

"The dog was lucky to have survived, in my opinion," said the owner of the car wash Erin Woodward.

The incident was reported on Tuesday afternoon and police charged a man — who they said is from Glovertown — shortly after.

The RCMP said the man is charged under the Animal Protection Act with causing an animal to be in distress and transporting an unsecured animal outside of a passenger compartment.

"We were very lucky to catch it," said Woodward, in an interview with CBC Radio's As It Happens on Wednesday. "I'm still incredibly angry that anybody could do that."

Woodward said one of her staff was cleaning the floor when she heard tires screeching, and saw a truck leaving the car wash with a dog in the back.

'I have seen our car wash blow apart drywall and plywood and splinter it right to pieces. So the fact that somebody could leave a living creature in the back of the vehicle just boggles my mind.' - Erin Woodward, car wash owner

When they reviewed surveillance footage, they saw a man in a truck approach the wash once and then leave — they believe he was scared off by a plumber working there — then come back several minutes later.

"He purchased one of our top wash packages, which is the longest and involves the most chemicals and it didn't look like he gave much thought about it, never got out to check on the dog, nothing like that and went on into the wash," Woodward said.

"As the wash is completed about four minutes later, he's exiting and then you can clearly see then the dog in the pan going through the dryer and out the door."

'Strong enough to take off skin'

Woodward said in her opinion, the dog could have been killed.

"That water pressure is strong enough to take off skin, and could certainly easily blind an animal who didn't know what is coming at it."

The RCMP laid charges after viewing the tape.

Woodward said she was told the truck driver was not the owner of the dog, which looked like a German shepherd mix, and that the owner immediately brought the animal to a vet.

"I have seen our car wash blow apart drywall and plywood and splinter it right to pieces. So the fact that somebody could leave a living creature in the back of the vehicle just boggles my mind."

Woodward said her car wash is the first of its kind in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and, while she's had customers go through who forget they have garbage or packages in the back, she believes there's no way the man could have forgotten that a dog was there.

With files from As It Happens