Coco (left), Rosie, who passed away (right)/ Photo by Avery Phoenix McDermott - Facebook

Last week, local dog mom Avery Phoenix McDermott came home from work to find the front door wide open and her two dogs, Rosie and Coco, missing.

Turns out, some faulty weather stripping prevented her door from locking properly, allowing the pups to escape when it was blown open by a gust of wind.

Because they weren’t wearing their collars or tags while inside the house, they were unidentifiable to a neighbour who picked them up and took them to a nearby dog daycare. The daycare then turned them over to the CRD Animal Shelter, where they remained until 9:30 AM the next day, by which time Rosie was dead.

What happened

When McDermott returned home from work at 5:30, the Animal Shelter had already closed for the day. She frantically tried to get a hold of a bylaw representative on the CRD’s 24/7 phone number but got no response.

After reaching out to the CRD on Facebook, she was told that the dogs could be picked up at 9:30 AM the next day, implying that there was no way for her to reach them before then.

But when she got to the shelter at 9:30 AM on April 26th, she was shocked to learn that her allegedly healthy 10 year old Rosie had passed away, and no one could tell her what happened or how she died.

Turns out that although she was healthy, the 6 lb dog suffered from severe anxiety and was not used to being anywhere but home. The fear and apprehension may have been what caused her to pass away.

CRD responds

According to CRD Animal Shelter spokesperson Shawn Carby, the shelter opens every morning at 9:30 AM and closes at 4:30 PM, with no caretakers to look after the animals after hours.

This means they’re left unsupervised and all alone for 17 hours – and this is standard practice in shelters and veterinary clinics across North America, according to Carby.

He also maintained that the CRD has never encountered a situation like this one before, and pointed out the importance of keeping pets tagged and identifiable at all times so that they can be easily returned to their owners.

Justice for Rosie

According to McDermott, this heartbreaking tragedy may have been entirely avoidable if she were able to bring Rosie and Coco home after work.

She argues that it is unreasonable to expect working individuals to be able to pick up their pets from the CRD Animal Shelter between the hours of 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM.

Her main issue is with the shelter’s policies, as she maintains that the staff were great and almost definitely treated her dogs with care.

“I am not trying to attack anyone’s character or the staff at all,” McDermott told Victoria Buzz. “I am trying to have these policies changed because it just doesn’t seem right for any animal.”

Her Facebook post about the incident garnered attention from sympathetic Victorians as well as others who have experienced similar grievances with the animal shelter.

Check out the post below:

As most of you know these past few days have been very difficult for me and my family. We lost a very important member…

Posted by Avery Phoenix McDermott on Saturday, April 28, 2018