Warning: This story contains graphic content that may be upsetting to some readers.
Thousands of people have signed an online petition asking Crown to seek the maximum penalty for two Duncan residents who have been charged with animal cruelty.
On Feb. 16, BC SPCA constables seized an emaciated, chained dog. 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 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 Tooshley. A petition titled “Justice for Teddy” was launched over the weekend. As of Monday afternoon, more than 38,000 people had signed it.
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.
“We are petitioning Crown Council and our local MLA Doug Routley to ask that the maximum penalty be imposed on Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley for their horrific act of animal abuse. If convicted, Joe and Tooshley face a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals,” the petition reads.
A woman claiming to be Tooshley’s mother appeared in a Facebook video last week, asking people to understand.
“She’s scared to send her kids to school because of the way people are getting towards her, and she had to take herself off Facebook because of all the mean and cruel things that are being said,” Joann Daniels said in the video.
“By all means, this is no excuse for what happened to that poor dog
The woman explains “things all happened at once” for Joe and Tooshley, including a recent birth and an injury. She also said people were afraid of the animal and it was “kind of a mean dog.”
“I know there’s a lot of cruel things people are really judging my daughter for, but things couldn’t be helped and I’m asking all of you to, whoever sees this, not to judge them so harshly,” she said.
Tooshley and Joe are set to make their next court appearances on April 3. A group of protestors are also planning to be at the Duncan courthouse.