Last weekend, hundreds of dog lovers gathered in a park in British Columbia to remember six dogs who died because of the alleged negligence of their dog walker. Known now as the “Brookswood Six,” the dogs were reported missing by Emma Paulsen on May 13. She told the police that the dogs had been stolen from her van after she had walked them at Brookswood Park, but after an extensive search lasting several days, a very different story emerged. Investigators believe the dogs had not been stolen, but died of heat exhaustion when she left them alone in the van for an hour. The police found the bodies dumped in a ditch.
Jennifer Myers, whose dog Buddy was one of the six, said that the walk was not just to remember the dogs, but to thank the people who have given support through the entire trauma.
“I know all six dogs came here quite a bit,” she said. “This was Buddy’s favorite spot to come for a walk.”
Louise Scott’s five-year-old dog Molly also died in the van.
“This is not easy,” she said. “I still hope that she will walk in the door.”
Barbara Brintell, who attended the memorial to support the owners, voiced a sentiment that’s no doubt shared by many: “I think they should throw the book at her. To think those people went through all the heartbreak, all in the hope that their dogs could be found and then to find out what an end they had. It’s terrible.”
During the search, the community responded with online fundraising, social media campaigns, and a $5,000 reward offered by television host Sarah Daniels for the safe return of the dogs. Now that the truth has come out, funds are still being accepted for the legal expenses of the families. The SPCA has recommended that Paulsen be charged with six counts of animal cruelty, but no charges have been filed yet.
The fact that a professional dog walker would leave six dogs alone in a van for an hour is disturbing; but the fact that she disposed of the bodies in a ditch and sent the families on a desperate hunt for their dogs is what makes it horrifying. Our best thoughts go out to the families, and the people who rallied around them.
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