Cruelty charges laid after dog's 2018 death in hot car
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, March 14, 2019 4:01PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:53PM PDT
A Victoria woman has been charged with animal cruelty after BC SPCA investigators say she left her dog to die in a hot car.
Stephanie Skinner allegedly left her Boston terrier, Ava, in a car for seven hours with all of the windows closed on July 23, 2018, the BC SPCA said in a news release.
Temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius that day and the dog was dead by the time her owner returned, investigators say.
At the time, West Shore RCMP said the incident happened in the 2700-block of Veterans Memorial Parkway and when they arrived, a woman was still trying to unsuccessfully revive her dog.
A BC SPCA spokeswoman called it a "tragic and preventable" incident.
"Every year, the BC SPCA and other animal welfare groups warn people about the dangers of leaving their pets in hot cars," said senior officer Eileen Drever. "Even 10 minutes in a hot, unventilated car can be fatal for an animal – an animal left for seven hours in those temperatures would not have stood a chance.”
In a strange twist, CTV News has learned that a woman named Stephanie Skinner who owned a dog named Ava worked at Hemminger Law Group, just metres away from where the dog perished.
In the months following the dog's death, the law firm was locked down several times after receiving threatening letters filled with white powder.
The substance was deemed to be harmless, but caused lockdowns and major disruptions to businesses in the area. No charges have resulted from the incident.
RCMP and the BC SPCA aren't confirming or denying any links between the white powder incident and the dog's death.
CTV News also reached out to Hemminger Law Group, which declined to comment.
The charges against Skinner have not been proven in court.
Skinner will appear in Western Communities Courthouse on March 28.
If convicted she faces a maximum fine of $75,000, up to two years jail time and a possible lifetime ban on owning animals.