There will be no charges, but hopefully a lesson was learned.
The Alberta SPCA has concluded its investigation into a man who was seen driving at high speeds with two dogs sitting on top of his truck bed.
The investigating officer has decided not to lay charges against the driver, who was caught on camera on Highway 16 near Edmonton.
“The Alberta SPCA hopes the attention given recently to two dogs in the back of a pickup truck west of Edmonton increases public awareness about the need to transport companion animals safely,” said Roland Lines, communications manager for the Alberta SPCA.
He continued on to say that “we are grateful to the person who took the photos and then called us to make a report. Because of that report, an Alberta SPCA peace officer could open an investigation and make sure the dogs were safe and uninjured. The health and welfare of the animals are always our primary concern.”
Lines admitted that he knows many people will be upset with the decision and the SPCA has heard from many people that have demanded charges.
However, he explained that just because the situation was “extremely frightening and frustrating” to see animals transported that way, it doesn’t necessarily mean charges are appropriate.
“If the animals are unharmed and if the investigating officer is confident that the subject acknowledges their error and will act differently in the future, a court prosecution isn’t necessarily warranted,” he said.
“The Alberta SPCA has found that the educational value of face-to-face discussions between our peace officers and subjects is effective at changing behaviour.”
Some jurisdictions in Alberta have bylaws that include rules around animal transport.
The RCMP or municipal enforcement services could write a ticket to penalize the unsafe transport of animals in those areas.
The Animal Protection Act, however, doesn’t give the SPCA peace officers the ability to write tickets for regulatory infractions.
Any enforcement against a person such as the driver in this situation would need to be prosecuted in provincial court.
Lines said that the SPCA hopes continued public education will see the frequency of these incidents decline.