Woman seeking justice in dog's death says 'person of interest' photo released was actually her partner

The owner of a dog that died after being found with extensive injuries says police released a "person of interest" photo that was actually her partner looking for the dog.

Susan Dasilva says public reaction to the photo caused pain and stress for her family

Angel, a husky, was found burned and injured July 29 after going missing from her home. Owner Susan Dasilva says her family is very upset by what took place and want to bring justice to the dog's death.
Angel, a husky, was found burned and injured July 29 after going missing from her home. Owner Susan Dasilva says her family is very upset by what took place and want to bring justice to the dog's death. (Submitted by Susan Dasilva)

The owner of a dog that died after being found with extensive injuries says she's frustrated Windsor police released a photo of a "person of interest" who she says was her partner helping to look for the dog. 

Susan Dasilva says the "person of interest" photo police released Wednesday as part of the animal cruelty investigation was actually her partner looking for Angel, her husky that had gone missing. 

"I was so upset in the beginning because the public's reaction, immediately they assume this is a person who harmed the dog rather than knowing that the police just are looking on the cameras, trying to find people in the area at the time," she said. 

LISTEN: Animal rights lawyer joins Afternoon Drive 
A terrible case of animal cruelty is being investigated by Windsor Police. The pet dog, a puppy named Angel, went missing earlier last week and was later found under a tree with sustained third degree burns. She was put down after complications earlier this week. Dog owner Susan DaSilva explains, and host Allison Devereaux is joined by lawyer Scott Tinney, who works for Animal Justice, about how the courts handle cases of animal abuse.

"Unfortunately, people jump to conclusions and it caused a lot more pain and stress on our family. He was out there looking for our pup... we could have ruled him out ourselves instead of going through all this pain and agony."

Dasilva said she wishes police had just brought the photo to her first and asked whether she knew the person. But since speaking with officers, she said, she recognizes that isn't always how investigations work. 

"Now that's cleared up, I feel so much better," she said. "That just took a weight off."

Windsor police wouldn't confirm whether the photo of the person they released was the owner's partner. But in a statement Friday, they said they have identified the person and it was "someone assisting in finding the missing dog." 

Bianca Jackson is a constable in the corporate communications department at Windsor Police.
Bianca Jackson is a Windsor police constable in the corporate communications department. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Const. Bianca Jackson, from the corporate communications department, said police received the photo from a community member and "needed to know who that was." 

"Any information that comes in to [our investigators], they look seriously at it," Jackson said. 

"This is a case that has hit our community pretty hard emotionally and we're seeing that. So that's why our investigators are working very hard to get as much information as they can." 

Jackson said when police name a person of interest, that's not necessarily someone who is a suspect in the case, rather someone they want to identify who could be a witness or help provide information. 

Dasilva told CBC News that police had not previously interacted with her partner and have only dealt with her, so they wouldn't have known who he was in relation to the case. 

Dog found with burns

Moving forward, Jackson said police will consult the appropriate parties with the information they receive. 

Police are investigating the death of Dasilva's dog, who they said was reported missing on July 29. 

Dasilva said her dog was eventually found with third-degree burns and bloodied paws. The dog died from its injuries on Monday. 

"I'm having horrible nightmares over this. It's just been horrible, horrible time for our family," she said. 

The dog was rushed to the vet. Dasilva said several procedures were performed to save its life, but nothing worked. 

'I had to let her go'

"She seized up in front of me. At that point I knew I had to let her go. She was in too much pain, so I told them to let her go," she said through tears. 

Windsor police are looking for information, as well as surveillance video or photos in the area of the 500 block of Janette Avenue between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., or the 400 block of Caron Avenue between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on July 29. 

Dasilva said she's just looking for justice for her dog. 

"The hope was to bring her home. Now all we have left to hang on to is the hope that we find who did this to her," she said.

"That's all we have left and we're just hoping that something else is found." 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?