NEWS

Dog rescue group denies theft allegations

12/29/2011 09:26 EST | Updated 02/28/2012 05:12 EST

Directors of a Metro Vancouver dog rescue organization deny accusations they are stealing dogs and say that once the truth is known, the public will have a much different perception of what the group does.

Janet Olson, of A Better Life Dog Rescue, is accused of trying to steal a Coquitlam bulldog last month, but says that’s not the whole story.

“If I read in the paper that a person was stealing loved family pets, was selling them for a profit I'd be furious, too. Who wouldn't be? That would be a sick, terrible thing to do,” Olson said Wednesday. “But that's 180 degrees opposite from the truth.”

The RCMP said investigators watched as two people wearing animal welfare uniforms tried to take the bulldog from a backyard. Police placed Olson, 58, and her co-director Louise Reid, 59, under arrest and the pair now face charges of break and enter, theft and fraud.

On Wednesday Olson told CBC News that on rare occasions, A Better Life has stepped in and taken dogs in dire circumstances. In the Coquitlam case, Olson said they were told the bulldog was suffering and would freeze to death if left outside.

“The SPCA was called numerous times about this dog. It was only there two weeks, but it's not there anymore. I am curious about that,” said Olson.

Abandoned pets and strays

The non-profit rescue group has legitimately adopted out dozens of stray and abandoned dogs since it started in 2006, said Olson.

“We presume people bring in dogs they either found as strays or abandoned, or they are so malnourished or abused they couldn't stand to see it anymore,” she said.

A Facebook group called “No Better Life” has collected stories from pet owners who claim their dogs were stolen by Olson and later put up for adoption.

Olson denied the accusations and hopes her case will put the spotlight on what she describes as lax animal cruelty laws.

“This is going to keep going until the law changes. Dogs must not be chained, ever.”

Olson and Reid are scheduled to appear in Surrey provincial court Jan. 26.

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