A Victoria woman is looking for answers after one of her dogs died following an overnight stay in the Capital Regional District animal pound.
Avery McDermott, 18, said her two shih tzus, Coco and Rosie, got out of the house when the door didn’t close properly as she left for work Wednesday morning.
A neighbour came across the dogs in the courtyard of the apartment building near Quadra and Cloverdale. The dogs weren’t wearing any ID tags so she took them to the Ruffin It dog daycare on Quadra Street.
With no way of identifying the dogs’ owner, employees called the animal shelter.
McDermott’s mother returned home about 5:30 p.m. to find the dogs missing, so she called FLED, a volunteer group that helps to locate lost pets. Volunteers found a post on the animal shelter’s Facebook page about two shih tzus that escaped in the Quadra area.
McDermott said by the time she called the animal shelter, they were closed and so she could not pick up Coco and Rosie.
When she arrived at the shelter first thing Thursday morning, she was told Rosie had died overnight. Coco was unharmed.
“I didn’t believe they were talking about the right dog because there would be no reason for my dog to pass away,” McDermott said. “She was nine [years old] but she’s a small dog so she was nowhere near the end of her life. No health issues, happy and healthy. I was pretty shocked.”
McDermott took Rosie to a veterinarian, who found no signs of trauma.
The vet “ultimately decided that it was probably anxiety and she scared herself so bad that her heart couldn’t take it,” McDermott said.
“They’ve never been in a kennel. It was a completely new surrounding. Probably having other dogs barking, it’s just too much.”
McDermott said she does not believe her dogs were mistreated or given inadequate care but that doesn’t make the loss of her dog any easier.
Shawn Carby, CRD’s senior manager of protective services, said this is the first case he can think of where a relatively healthy animal died in the shelter’s care. “It was a tragic and unexpected loss and we send our heartfelt condolences to the family,” Carby said.
Carby said there is an after-hours line people can call and make arrangements with the on-duty animal control officer to pick up their pet.
“We do remain committed to the animals we care for and that includes making every effort to reunite owners with their animals as soon as possible,” he said.
It’s important that pets have a licence tag or identification mechanism such as a microchip or tattoo that allows animal control officers to track down the owner, Carby said.
“We go out of our way to use mobile apps, where we can check an animal’s tag in the field and we can reunite the animal with the owner before taking him to the shelter.”
This content was originally published here.