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Court summons issued after puppy found alone inside vehicle
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:55PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:18PM MST
Police in west Edmonton had an unusual case on their hands Monday night – after a tip from a concerned citizen had officers rescuing a young puppy, left alone in a vehicle.
West division police officers were called to a vehicle, located at 97 Avenue and 180 Street at about 11:30 Monday night.
Staff Sgt. Todd Laycock told CTV News a nearby resident had grown concerned over the wellbeing of a puppy.
“A young puppy, probably around 10 weeks old, had been stored in a vehicle for the past few days,” Laycock said. “She was concerned for the puppy’s welfare and called us.”
When police arrived, they found the young American Staffordshire Terrier cross inside the parked vehicle, surrounded by his own feces – it’s believed the puppy had been left there for up to three days.
“Whimpering, shivering, it was cold, tired, hungry, thirsty,” Laycock said.
Officers on the scene contacted a tow truck company to help them get inside the vehicle, as the owner could not be found at first.
However, the owner of the vehicle and the dog turned up before police opened the vehicle – police have not laid charges, but he was ordered to appear in court.
“He was issued a summons under the animal protection act, so he’s going to have to answer to his actions in court,” Laycock said.
“It’s essentially up to the judge to deliver his or her finding.”
Meanwhile, police seized the puppy – Laycock said the owner didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong.
“In his mind the vehicle was providing shelter for the dog,” Laycock said. “I think he made the comparison that it was like a dog house for his animal.”
Edmonton veterinarian Dr. Max Rossetti said this is a clear case of abuse.
“Any dog shouldn’t be in a car like that for three days,” Dr. Rossetti said. “A puppy is just too young; it can’t regulate its body heat anyways.
“To leave a 10 week old puppy like that it’s abusive and it’s not a nice thing to hear.”
The veterinarian said after three days, the puppy was reaching a critical point – and the likelihood that it would succumb to hypothermia was growing when he was finally rescued.
The dog’s breed also played a factor in this case since the American Staffordshire Terrier, or pit bull, has a short, smooth coat – and can’t naturally handle frigid temperatures.
“The pit bull especially, it’s just like a boxer, it’s not really built for this kind of weather,” Dr. Rossetti said.
As for the puppy, now named Charles, he’s been cared for since he was removed from that freezing vehicle – officers brought him back to the West Division Police Station, where he was given food and water.
“As a matter of fact, the officer that answered the call is an up and coming puppy handler with the EPS, so he’s very familiar with dogs, so he was able to get him back up on his feet, and warm and fed, and off to the shelter,” Sgt. Laycock said.
Charles is currently in the care of the Edmonton Animal Control Centre, where staff said he appears to be comfortable.
“I think he’s quite content now that he’s in a safe, loving environment,” Keith Scott with Animal Control said.
Police said it's too soon to say if Charles will be put up for adoption.
In the meantime, he will remain in the care of Animal Control until the owner appears in court where a judge will decide whether the puppy will be returned to the owner, or of the owner will face a fine or penalty.
With files from Ashley Molnar
Charles, an American Staffordshire Terrier cross, is in the care of the Edmonton Animal Control Centre - after he was found alone inside a vehicle on the city's west side late Monday night.
Animal Control Officer Mariann Ragac is helping look after Charles, who playfully posed for pictures on Tuesday afternoon at the Edmonton Animal Control Centre.