The owner of a dog that died after being found with extensive injuries says she was frustrated Windsor police released a photo of a person of interest who she says is her partner.
In an interview with CBC News Friday, Susan Dasilva said that the person of interest photo released by police in the animal cruelty investigation on Wednesday was actually her partner who was looking for her husky, Angel, that had gone missing.
"I was so upset in the beginning because the public's reaction immediately they assume this is a person who harmed the dog rather than knowing that the police just are looking on the cameras, trying to find people in the area at the time," she said.
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"Unfortunately, people jump to conclusions and it caused a lot more pain and stress on our family, he was out there looking for our pup... we could have ruled him out ourselves instead of going through all this pain and agony."
Dasilva said she wished police had just brought the photo to her first and asked whether she knew the person, but she said since speaking with officers she now recognizes that this isn't the way investigations work.
"Now that's cleared up, I feel so much better. That just took a weight off," she said.
Windsor police could not confirm whether the photo of the person they released was the owner's partner, but in a statement released Friday they said they have identified the person and have confirmed that this was "someone assisting in finding the missing dog."
Windsor police Const. Bianca Jackson, who is in the corporate communications department, said police received the photo from a community member and "needed to know who that was."
"Any information that comes in to [our investigators], they look seriously at it," Jackson said.
"This is a case that has hit our community pretty hard emotionally and we're seeing that and so that's why our investigators are working very hard to get as much information as they can."
Jackson said when police name a person of interest, that is not necessarily someone who is a suspect in the case, rather a person police are looking to identify as they could be a witness or help provide information on what happened.
Dasilva told CBC News that police had not previously interacted with her partner and have only dealt with her, so they wouldn't have known who that person was in relation to the case.
Moving forward, Jackson said police will consult the appropriate parties with the information they receive.
Police are investigating the death of Dasilva's dog, who they said was reported missing on July 29.
Dog found with burns
Dasilva said her dog was eventually found with third-degree burns and bloodied paws. The dog died from its injuries on Monday.
"I'm having horrible nightmares over this. It's just been horrible, horrible time for our family," she said.
The dog was rushed to the vet and, according to Dasilva, several procedures were performed to save its life, but nothing worked.
"She seized up in front of me. At that point I knew I had to let her go. She was in too much pain, so I told them to let her go," she said through tears.
Windsor police continue to ask that anyone with information, as well as surveillance video or photos in the area of the 500 block of Janette Avenue between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. or the 400 block of Caron Avenue between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on July 29 send it in.
Dasilva told CBC News she's just looking for justice for her dog.
"The hope was to bring her home and now all we have left to hang on to is the hope that we find who did this to her," she said.
"That's all we have left and we're just hoping that something else is found."