A Victoria woman is being charged with animal cruelty after her dog, Ava, died in a hot car last July, according to the BC SPCA.

Stephanie Skinner allegedly left her Boston Terrier, Ava, in her car for roughly seven hours with all of the windows rolled up, while temperatures outside reached 30° celcius.

At the time, Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement, advising of an “extended stretch of very warm weather” hitting BC’s south coast.

When Skinner returned to her car, Ava had died.

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“This is such a tragic and preventable case,” said Eileen Drever, senior office, protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA in a statement.

“Every year, the BC SPCA and other animal welfare groups warn people about the dangers of leaving their pets in hot cars. Even 10 minutes in a hot, unventilated car can be fatal for an animal – an animal left for seven hours in those temperatures would not have stood a chance.”

Following the incident, West Shore RCMP stated that they responded to the call, and arrived to find Skinner trying to resuscitate the dog. She was described as being upset and was being comforted by bystanders.

Skinner makes her first court appearance on March 28th, at the Western Communities Courthouse. If she is convicted, she could face a maximum fine of $75,000, up to two years in prison, and a lifetime ban on owning animals.