Edmonton

Fort McMurray SPCA employee charged with animal abuse

An employee of the Fort McMurray SPCA has been charged with animal abuse after a woman was reportedly seen punching a dog on shelter property.

Woman seen punching and 'choking out' dog at shelter

An employee of the Fort McMurray SPCA has been charged with animal abuse after a woman was reportedly seen punching a dog on shelter property.

The incident came to light last month when a member of the public complained on social media that they had witnessed a shelter employee abusing an animal that was in the shelter's care.

The complaint was posted to Facebook on Aug. 18. The poster said he was working in a yard next to the shelter when he saw a woman strike a dog at an outdoor run.

'Closed fist shots to the head'

"[I] witnessed her beat the dog with closed fist shots to the head multiple times and lift it off the ground by the leash. She put it on practically choking it out."

When shelter staff became aware of the post that afternoon, RCMP were called, said executive director Arianna Johnson.

Following the investigation, Wood Buffalo RCMP charged a 27-year-old woman with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The woman is due in Fort McMurray provincial court on Dec. 5.

The staffer has since been suspended from her position with the non-profit society, pending the outcome of the charges, Johnson said.

"The Fort McMurray SPCA, our board of directors, my staff and I take our commitment to the excellent and professional care of the animals in our facility extremely seriously," Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson declined to comment on the large-breed dog involved in the case or if it remains in the care of the shelter.