By Maryam Shah
From: Toronto Sun
Animal lover Angele Lazurko is “really broken up” over the death of Tucker — the Labrador that perished in a hot car at the Vaughan Mills mall on Sunday, said her father.
Lazurko, 20, who lives in the Sudbury area, and her boyfriend Matthieu Arbour, 21, each face a charge of unnecessary cruelty to animals.
She lost her job at a Pet Valu store in Val Caron — about 20 kilometres north of Sudbury — and is distraught over the media reports about the tragedy, said David Lazurko, the woman’s father.
“She’s really broken up,” said Lazurko, who added his daughter has gone out of her way to save animals in the past.
“It’s not even 24 hours since they put charges out and she’s already been tried, convicted, and sentenced,” he said. “She’s lost her dog, which is a very close companion to her. She’s devastated over that. All this other stuff just being piled on top of it too. I mean, how much do you want to punish a person?”
Lazurko and Arbour were leaving Woofstock — a dog-oriented event in Toronto — with Tucker on Sunday when they stopped at Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre.
“They went into the mall, and they didn’t realize that the dog had no water,” said her father, adding there was a water dispenser in the vehicle which — unknown to his daughter — did not work.
By the time firefighters arrived on the scene and extracted Tucker, he had died from heat exposure.
“They were there and they had the window open easily under one minute,” Vaughan Fire platoon chief Marty Bromley said.
After their arrest, Lazurko and her boyfriend returned home around 2 a.m. Monday morning. They are scheduled to appear in court on July 10 in Newmarket.
The older Lazurko, who works for a mining company, sounded weary after working underground all day and emerging to a barrage of media attention over his daughter’s arrest in Toronto.
Lazurko lives at home with her parents, and studies business administration at College Boreal, with one year to go. The part-time job she lost at Pet Valu paid for her schooling and for her cats’ toys.
Her father said she hopes to work with animals in the long run.
“She’s got a deaf cat named Jimmy,” he said. “It was scheduled to be put down. And she adopted that one, and that’s her in-house cat.”
He admitted that his daughter made a mistake, but added she has always cared for her animals.
She didn’t mind dressing up in “silly costumes” to fundraise for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at her store.
“And there’s the cats that she rescued from freezing,” her father recalled. “We found two kittens one time, and she was able to save one of them. The other one lasted about three days, then it passed on. It was too far gone.”
Tucker was around eight months old when she adopted him. She had just bought him a lifejacket two weeks ago in case they went down to the lake.
“He liked to run and she liked to go down to the river,” he said. “And he’d just run along happily right beside it. And that’s how Tucker got his exercise.
Read more: Toronto Sun