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'I was shocked': BC SPCA reminds owners to secure pets in vehicles after dog dragged behind pickup

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Veterinarians on Vancouver Island are warning dog-owners to always secure their pets inside a vehicle when transporting them after a dog fell out of the back of a pickup truck and was dragged behind the vehicle by her tether.

Heidi, a three-year-old German shepherd, is now in the care of the BC SPCA in Nanaimo, B.C., after she was found severely injured on the side of the road.

"When I first saw the pictures of Heidi’s injuries, I was shocked," said Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations, in a release Tuesday.

"Her paws and lower leg were worn down to the bone. The physical and psychological pain that this kind of tragic event would cause is unimaginable."

A witness to the dragging incident alerted the RCMP, who found Heidi and her owner on the side of the road, the BC SPCA said.

The animal protection group says Heidi was in critical medical distress and was seized by the RCMP and rushed to a veterinary hospital for emergency surgery.

Three and a half weeks of intensive round-the-clock treatment later, Heidi is expected to recover and will likely be available for adoption in mid-December.

The veterinary staff describe Heidi as a lovely dog, with a friendly disposition despite what she has been through.

"Transport of an unsecured pet in the back of a pickup is illegal, but as Heidi’s case shows, even tethered transport poses serious risks," Drever said.

"The best and safest way to transport dogs is always inside the vehicle, preferably with a harness made specifically for travelling in a vehicle."

The BC SPCA is covering all of the costs of Heidi’s treatment. Anyone wishing to donate to help cover her care and that of other animals in B.C. can do so anytime on the BC SPCA website.

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