Cowichan Tribes said they will be updating their bylaws to include an animal welfare bylaw after a dog died in what the BC SPCA is calling one of the most disturbing cases of animal abuse they have ever witnessed.
Cowichan Tribes, the BC SPCA and RCMP held the meeting to discuss “Teddy” on March 15. Both the BC SPCA and Cowichan Tribes said the meeting’s agenda was about moving forward for solutions to prevent neglect to animals or pets in the future.
It is unfortunate what the poor dog went through, and we hope with greater education on proper treatment, and how to identify and report an animal in need of care, we can prevent cases like this in the future,” Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said in a release.
The dog was seized on Feb 16. According to the BC SPCA, the medium-sized brown dog was on a tether that was only a few inches long and was standing in a large pile of mud and feces. The dog was unknown to the Cowichan Tribes bylaw officer or the BC SPCA until he was reported and discovered on Feb. 16.
The SPCA also said there was a collar deeply embedded in its neck. The dog’s wound became infected and its head swelled to nearly three times its normal size.
The SPCA said constables had to use bolt cutters to free the dog and immediately rushed it to a veterinary clinic. The dog, dubbed Teddy by his rescuers, died from his injuries two days later.
BC SPCA announced on March 7 that cruelty charges had been laid against Anderson Joe and Melissa Thooshley. A petition titled “Justice for Teddy” was launched that weekend.
The petition is asking the Crown and Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley to pursue the maximum penalty faced by Joe and Tooshley. If they’re convicted, the maximum penalty is up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals. A vigil for Teddy was also held on March 18 at the BC Legislature.
Following the meeting on March 15, Cowichan Tribes, with input from the BC SPCA, are now working on updating their bylaws for the protection of people from animals and to include an animal welfare bylaw.The City of Duncan is the only community in the Cowichan Valley Regional District that has an animal welfare bylaw.
Cowichan Tribes and the BC SPCA are also working on an agreement to help streamline the communication and improve the relationship between both organizations moving forward.
“We are very pleased to be invited to work more closely with the Cowichan Tribes,” Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, said in a release “While we cannot rewrite the past, we hope that through this stronger partnership we can help prevent cases like Teddy from ever happening again.”
The BC SPCA has also been invited to the community to educate Cowichan Tribes members of all ages about animal welfare. The organization plans to attend Cowichan Tribes events with information events, as well as go to local schools and summer camps.