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More charges in Surrey dog-theft investigation

Janet Olson (with microphone) addresses attendees of a Dec. 15 rally outside Surrey Provincial Court. - File photo
Janet Olson (with microphone) addresses attendees of a Dec. 15 rally outside Surrey Provincial Court.
— image credit: File photo

Charges are piling up in the investigation of a dog-rescue group accused of stealing pets from yards across the Lower Mainland.

According to court records, several charges – including theft, break-and-enter and commit indictable offence, fraud and breach of undertaking or recognizance – were sworn against A Better Life Dog Rescue founder Janet Margaret Olson in Surrey Provincial Court on Jan. 24 and 27. They relate to alleged incidents in White Rock (Jan. 3, 2011), Surrey (Dec. 5, 15 and 21), Richmond (July 9, 2010) and Abbotsford (Nov. 14, 2009).

Michaela Schnittker is listed as a co-accused on the Richmond charges.

The charges follow several announced late last year against Olson and Louise Reid, who are both Surrey residents; Reid is a co-director of A Better Life. The pair were arrested Nov. 21, after officers with Surrey's Property Crime Target Team reportedly observed them enter a Coquitlam backyard and walk away with a bulldog named Samson.

Olson was also charged at that time with theft and fraud in connection with the alleged theft of a Jack Russell terrier in Surrey on April 13, 2011.

Following her first court appearance Dec. 1, Olson told Black Press that A Better Life had "a moral right" to take the dogs.

Outside court Dec. 15, just prior to a rally organized in support of Olson, she told Peace Arch News that she took Samson "because a bulldog expert advised me he was going to freeze to death.”

After police announced the initial charges, investigators were flooded with tips and further charges were predicted.

Olson is due back in Surrey Provincial Court Feb. 9. Reid made her first appearance Jan. 26. She was scheduled to appear again this morning (Feb. 2) on an application to vary bail; and is also due back on Feb. 9.

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