A Courtenay woman has been charged with beating a chihuahua so badly it had to be put down.
Kylie Nikkels is scheduled to make her first court appearance Oct. 20 to face two counts of animal cruelty. The dog involved was a seven-year-old “teacup” or miniature chihuahua named Bianca that was owned by the accused’s grandmother.
The injuries were suffered in April when Bianca was alone with Nikkels, said B.C. SPCA senior animal-protection officer Tina Heary. The dog was taken to a veterinary clinic with severe hemorrhaging, and a crushed skull and chest.
“She had critical injuries,” Heary said. “She was in critical distress.”
Heary said it is “heartbreaking” to think of the pain the dog went through. She said miniature chihuahuas are among the smallest dogs, weighing just a few pounds, which makes them particularly vulnerable.
“They’re very, very tiny.”
The severity of Bianca’s injuries is horrifying to people, Heary said, but such cases come up from time to time.
“It happens,” she said. “We’ve had a number of cases here on Vancouver Island in the last year that have been severe physical abuse.
“We really are pleased that that Crown counsel is pursuing this matter.”
The sentence in such a case could include a jail term of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000 and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Heary said cases of animal abuse are tough for investigators.
“You don’t get used to it,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that it happens and you want to do your best to prevent it from happening again.”
The B.C. SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot branch is also seeking donations so that a kitten found abandoned can have a leg amputated. The kitten, which is about four months old and has been named Charlotte, has a broken front leg that can’t be treated because it is an old injury.
The kitten was also dehydrated, anemic and infested with fleas when found.
Medical costs are anticipated to be more than $2,000. The B.C. SPCA is a non-profit group and relies on donations for its efforts on behalf of animals
Donate online at spca.bc.ca/medicalemergency, call 250-723-5269 or visit the Alberni-Clayoquot branch offices at 4936 Broughton St. in Port Alberni.
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