The Sudbury woman whose dog died after being left in a hot car in southern Ontario this weekend is described by her father as an animal lover.
Angèle Lazurko, 20, and her boyfriend Matthieu Arbour, 21, have been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. The dog was left in a vehicle at the Vaughan Mills mall, north of Toronto, as temperatures outside soared to 32 C on Sunday.
Officials said the temperature inside the car would have been much higher.
As Dave Lazurko scrolled through photos on his digital camera, Angèle was seen with an animal in almost every picture. He said his daughter has rescued stray kittens and babysat dogs. Of the family's many pets, he said Tucker, the year-and-a-half-old chocolate Labrador in this case, was her favourite.
Lazurko said Angèle is taking the death of her dog very hard. Angèle was interviewed for this story, but asked not to be recorded.
“Tucker was a very nice dog, we all enjoyed him and you can tell by her reaction that she's very, very upset right now,” Dave Lazurko said.
In Toronto for Woofstock
In between bouts of sobbing, Angèle recounted what happened.
She and Arbour were in Toronto for Woofstock, an annual outdoor dog festival. Returning north on the hot Sunday afternoon, the two stopped at a mall to shop, leaving the young dog in the hot car without water. Police reported the dog was in the car for more than two hours.
Lazurko said his daughter's mistake was a lapse of judgment.
“This is the only trip she's ever taken with the dog,” he said. “Things just went wrong, and she wasn't used to it, and now we're into this situation.”
She said she hopes her mistake can prevent future animal deaths.
“Hopefully this is something that can be avoided in the future,” Dave Lazurko said. “I think she's not used to be[ing] down in southern Ontario, and she lost track of time, so hopefully no one else will have the same experience.”
Lazurko and Arbour will appear before a Newmarket court at the beginning of next month.