Six pets that were reported stolen by their dog walker in Langley, B.C. actually died in the truck they were supposedly snatched from.
The animals' bodies were later found dumped in a ditch in Abbotsford, said SPCA spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk.
Colleen King, whose Bouvier-Poodle cross named Teemo died, said RCMP told her the dogs never went to an off-leash park as their walker had claimed, reported CBC News. They were actually left outside a Richmond business before their bodies were abandoned.
Last week, the RCMP said the dog walker put the canines in the back of her pickup truck with a canopy so she could use the bathroom. She claimed that when she returned after about 10 minutes, the canopy was unlatched and the dogs were gone.
At a rally to find the dogs, walker Emma Paulsen had told the Langley Advance that she could not "eat or sleep."
But all of the animals died of heat stroke, said Pet Searchers Canada, a service that tracks lost and stolen pets, on Monday.
The walker panicked when she discovered the animals' bodies, and made up the dognapping, said the pet detectives' website:
"... all six dogs were in the back of her vehicle with the side vent windows open and water available, as she had done hundreds of times. Sometime during the outing, all six dogs perished from heatstroke. Upon arriving at the location and Emma seeing her beloved charges deceased, she went into a blind panic at the thought of notifying the families and the possible repercussions.
Emma knows that many will not understand and that there will be lots of anger. Though the details of her private life do not excuse what has happened, she had recently stopped taking medication for panic attacks due to the side effects and was under a great amount of pressure regarding personal family issues. She herself still doesn’t understand why she did what she did."
Langley RCMP said they believe the dogs died in the vehicle during the daytime heat.
No charges have yet been laid but an investigation continues into possible public mischief, said the force. A second investigation into the alleged mistreatment of the dogs will turned over to the SPCA.
With files from The Canadian Press