Willow showed ‘courage’

Rescued Siberian husky survived, then honoured by B.C. SPCA



One of the worst cruelty cases in B.C. SPCA history continues to on its path to happiness as Willow, a severely emaciated Siberian husky, was honoured at the Animal Courage Awards on May 2.

The dog was found wandering alone in Maple Ridge in late January, and brought to the Maple Ridge branch of the SPCA by a good samaritan. Because of her initial condition, the dog was treated at the Dewdney Animal Hospital. She only weighed 15 kilograms, nine kg under what a healthy dog of her age and breed should be.

The husky was assessed with a score of one out of nine on the canine body conditioning scale, making it one of the worst cases of starvation witnessed by SPCA officers.

“Willow was too weak to stand without support, but was unable to lie down due to extreme pain in her abdominal area,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the SPCA. “Upon further examination, it was discovered that she had been eating gravel and soil in order to stay alive. Thankfully, with around-the-clock veterinary treatment and ongoing care in a loving SPCA foster home, Willow made a miraculous recovery and gradually gained more than nine kilograms.”

Willow was adopted in March by Dawn and Mark Whittacker of Langley, and has adjusted to her new home, enjoying car rides, long walks and swimming.

The dog’s original owner has been identified as a Coquitlam resident and university student.

The B.C. SPCA has said there is enough evidence to go forward with animal cruelty charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code. There has been no word from Crown counsel on whether charges will be laid.