No jail time for Duncan man who pleaded guilty to animal abuse

A Duncan man has been sentenced to three months of probation and given a lifetime ban on owning a pet in connection with an animal abuse case.

Anderson Joe pleaded guilty in May to causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to the dog, which was found in a tangled mess of cable and rope tether in a yard on Feb. 16, 2018.

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Despite medical treatment and round-the-clock care after he was freed by SPCA officers, the dog — named Teddy by staff at Duncan Animal Hospital — died the following day.

During the trial, SPCA Const. Matthew Affleck testified that the dog’s ribs, spine and hip bones were clearly visible when he was found. He also had a large open wound on his neck. His head was swollen two to three times its size. Teddy’s head was so big, the SPCA received a call from someone concerned that a dog had a bucket stuck on its head.

At the start of the trial, Joe’s co-accused, Melissa Tooshley, pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting the dog. Tooshley was aware the dog was tethered in the yard, and aware of the animal’s condition, Crown prosecutor John Blackman told the court.

Judge Mayland McKimm ordered a pre-sentence report and a full Gladue report to assist the court at the sentencing of Tooshley, a member of the Cowichan Tribes. (The Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Gladue decision said judges must take note of systemic or background factors when determining a sentence for Indigenous offenders in order to address their “serious overrepresentation” in prison.)

Tooshley is expected to be sentenced Thursday.

The case has touched a deep nerve in the community. Protesters carrying placards and calling for “Justice for Teddy” have attended almost every court appearance.

In March, Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said he was alarmed by the racism and intimidation surround the animal-abuse case. Seymour said he was concerned for the safety and well-being of band members.

“This backlash against the community is clearly stemming from the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a dog known as Teddy,” Seymour wrote in a statement.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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