The SPCA is investigating a July 2 incident where a six-month-old puppy died after being locked in a car parked at BCIT.
The puppy had been in direct sunlight, inside the car, for approximately three hours. The Burnaby RCMP arrived just after the owners of the puppy had unlocked the car and the dog was taken to a veterinarian, but died shortly afterwards.
The car did have its sunroof cracked open, but the temperature inside the car was recorded at 68 C.
Marcie Moriarty, head of cruelty investigations for the SPCA, said the incident is distressing.
"What a horrific death," she said. "I'm extremely frustrated that year after year, we get the message out that leaving animals in vehicles in the summer can lead to tragedy. ... We hope this prevents other tragedies, but it really is quite sad."
Moriarty said the owner of the dog had purchased a ticket for up to two hours of parking time at BCIT.
"This is not a case of where somebody ran into a store for 10 minutes to get something," she said. "Even running into a store and leaving your pet for 10 minutes can have disastrous consequences."
Moriarty said that while investigators are continuing their investigation, preliminary indications are that the owner will be facing criminal charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Those charges may include putting an animal in distress and depriving an animal of adequate ventilation.
Investigators have talked to the owner of the puppy, and while the owner is devastated, Moriarty said what happened Saturday is inexcusable.
"This person showed a complete lack of thought," said Moriarty. "I hope this person considers long and hard whether they should ever be allowed to own another dog."
Penalties for convictions under the prevention of cruelty to animals act can range up to two years in prison, $75,000 in fines and a lifetime ban on owning an animal.
Moriarty reminded the public that during summer weather, it is unsafe to leave animals locked inside of vehicles for any length of time.
Anybody who finds an animal inside a car that appears in distress and suffering from the heat, please call the SPCA or your local police immediately.