Man says he didn't abuse dog, acted in self-defence when confronted

The man accused of assaulting a septuagenarian in a Saanich park says he was not abusing his dog, as the older man claimed, and that he acted in self-defence.

Malcolm Brown, 36, says he has PTSD and mental-health issues and admits he took a swing at Ted Penston after the 78-year-old “came raging” at him and accused him of strangling his dog.

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Penston moved to avoid the punch and fell to the ground.

Penston alleges Brown kicked him in the stomach when he was down, but Brown denies that.

Saanich police have launched an assault investigation after the altercation in Bryden Park in Royal Oak Tuesday afternoon.

“Everyone is making me out to be a monster and a psychopath,” Brown said.

“I was getting upset with my dog, I acknowledge that, but I was not abusing my dog.”

Penston, who lives in a home overlooking Bryden Park — near where Glanford Avenue meets West Saanich Road — said he confronted the man after he saw him pick up the dog “in a chokehold,” then throw the dog down and kick it several times.

Brown denies he choked or kicked his dog.

Brown said he was taking his two rescue dogs for a walk off-leash in the park about 4 p.m., which he does often.

The female pit bull-cross, Caleigh, was being difficult, so Brown said he was “giving her [expletive] verbally.”

Because he was yelling, both dogs ran off in separate directions. Brown said when he got to Caleigh, he grabbed her in a bear hug to get her to the car. Because of a torn rotator cuff, he kept dropping her and picking her back up, he said.

He said he did not kick his dog. Brown said he loves his dogs and they help him with his depression and anxiety.

Brown said he heard women screaming at him to stop hurting the dog. He ignored them and focused on getting his dog back to the car.

That’s when he said Penston marched up to him swearing and telling him to put the dog down.

“He came raging at me. I have PTSD — I saw that as this guy is coming after me. We had a bit of an altercation. I didn’t even hit him and he falls down. I grab my dog and I bolt out of there.”

Penston said he couldn’t stand by and watch the way the man was treating his dog.

“He didn’t have it in a bear hug, he had it around the neck,” Penston said.

When Penston confronted the dog owner, and the man threw a punch, Penston said he saw it coming.

“I moved out of the way and he brushed past my ear with his fist,” he said. “I lost my balance and hit the deck. Then he kicked me in the stomach.” He said he was not injured.

Penston said his wife and many other witnesses can corroborate his story and have given statements to Saanich police.

He said he then saw the man throw the dog in the hatchback of his car “like a bag of garbage.”

Brown said he reversed out of the park and returned shortly thereafter to retrieve his other dog, Bernie. He said Penston’s daughter took a picture of him that looks like he’s “bolting from the scene of the crime.”

That photo was released by Saanich police Wednesday as they tried to find the dog owner.

On Wednesday night, Penston said, Brown’s mother showed up at his door accusing him of ruining her son’s life and spreading lies.

Brown describes himself as a law school dropout with past criminal issues.

“My dogs have issues and I have issues,” he said.

Penston also admits to having a criminal record. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1995 after he punched a stranger who was impaired and verbally abusing staff in a Saanich pizza parlor. David MacDonald fell backward, hit his head on the floor and died of brain injuries 36 hours later.

Brown said he wanted to get his side of the story out in the media first and intends to turn himself into Saanich police.

Saanich police said Thursday that investigators have identified the dog owner, but no one has been arrested and no charges have been laid.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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