Young mom faces jail time for horrific attack on family pet
Published Monday, August 17, 2015 12:26PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 19, 2015 8:52AM PDT
A young Surrey mother accused of torturing and horrifically injuring a family’s pet Labrador retriever has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty, and could face jail time.
Ryder was found stabbed, bound and beaten in a basement suite a day after disappearing from his family’s yard in the Chimney Heights neighbourhood on Valentine’s Day 2014.
A blood-soaked 24-year-old woman in the suite claimed that the dog had attacked her young child, but the RCMP said its officers quickly realized the blood was coming from the whimpering, injured dog.
Lindsey Susan Hirtreiter, then 23 years old, was taken into custody by the RCMP for a psychiatric assessment, and her four-year-old daughter was removed by the Ministry of Children and Families.
The canine suffered some of the most gruesome injuries SPCA investigators have ever seen. Ryder suffered multiple lacerations in his throat from having multiple sharp objects, including lighters, metal jewelry, a fish hook, coins and a USB drive, shoved into his stomach.
The dog showed signs of severe hemorrhaging on his eyes after pieces of metal were shoved into his eyelids and behind his eye socket, and had to undergo emergency surgery to save his eyesight.
“Animals are so vulnerable and they rely on us. And this dog, after all the abuse it went through, was still so trusting. It was still wagging its tail in the animal hospital,” BC SPCA Senior Animal Protection Officer Eileen Drever told CTV Vancouver.
Long road to recovery
Ryder’s owners say he shied away from people after the attack, but has come a long way during his recovery.
“He was very timid in the beginning with other people, with strangers especially. [But] he’s pulled through it,” owner Ryan Westaway says of the three-year-old pooch.
Westaway and his family raised $30,000 through crowdfunding to pay the vet bills, and Ryder still needs to undergo ligament surgery – and he’s still on medication.
The BC SPCA submitted the charges to crown days after the attack, but they have only just been approved -- nearly 18 months later.
Lindsey Hirtreiter faces a maximum fine of $75,000, up to two years in jail and a lifetime ban on owning animals if convicted. A court date has not been set.