A grass fire on Lemo Road near Duncan that was thought to be suspicious has been deemed non-criminal in nature by police.
On March 4, 2019, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP received a complaint about a grass fire on Cowichan Tribes land. A neighbour of the couple accused in a local neglected-dog trial thought it was a targeted attack.
Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley were charged in 2018 with failing to provide adequate food, shelter and water for the dog, later named Teddy by staff at the Duncan Animal Hospital.
Joe was also charged with causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to the two- to three-year-old Labrador cross from Jan. 16 to Feb. 16, 2018. Tooshley pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting the dog. Joe’s has pleaded not guilty and the trial is ongoing.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have determined that while the fire was human-caused, it was not criminal in nature.
“We recognize that the event created significant concern in the community. We would like to assure everyone that, while man made, it was not started in relation to the ongoing criminal trial and was not racially motivated. Instead it was a fire that was started for legitimate reasons and unfortunately got out of control,” Cpl. Tammy Douglas, spokeswoman for RCMP Island District, said in a statement.