A Delta dog walker who left six dogs to die in the back of her hot truck last spring has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and falsely reporting a crime.
Back in May, Emma Paulsen reported that six dogs in her care had been stolen from the Brookswood off-leash dog park in Langley, spurring a large community search for the missing pets.
About a week later, however, Paulsen admitted the dogs had actually died in her hot vehicle, which was reportedly parked in Richmond. She eventually led police to a ditch in Abbotsford where the dead dogs were dumped.
A necropsy done by the SPCA confirmed the animals died of heat exhaustion. Among the six canines was her ex-husband’s and children’s border collie. The case became known as the “Brookswood Six.”
Paulsen was charged in August and on Wednesday morning (Nov. 12) in Surrey Provincial Court, entered guilty pleas to two of the six charges she faced. Wearing a dark pant suit and Vancouver Police Department sunglasses, she quickly left the courthouse, heckled by animal rights activists, before getting into a waiting car.
Though it’s been months since her dog died while in Paulsen’s care, Jennifer Myers has a tough time talking about her Boston terrier Buddy.
She was in court for Paulsen’s guilty pleas and while relieved there won’t be a lengthy trial, she’s concerned what penalties Paulsen will face.
“The hard part about a guilty plea is that you know it’s going to be a lesser sentence,” she said. “I would really like to see jail time. I’m not very optimistic. It’s very rare that animal cruelty cases actually result in jail time.”
It was the first time Myers had seen Paulsen since Buddy and the other dogs died.
“She has made no contact with the family at all,” said Myers. “There was no apologies, no contact, nothing.”
Paulsen was initially charged with six offences under the Criminal Code of Canada and the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including killing an animal, causing unnecessary suffering, pain or injury, neglecting to provide adequate food, water or shelter, failing to protect and animal from circumstances that are likely to cause distress, causing or permitting distress and intent to mislead police in an investigation.
It’s expected the remaining four charges will be stayed after sentencing.
The maximum penalty Paulsen would face is five years jail, a fine of $75,000 and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21.
– with files from Monique Tamminga