What started out as a normal walk in the park for Ted Penston turned into a bizarre incident that ended with him being kicked by a total stranger.
Penston was walking through Saanich’s Bryant Park at around 4:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon when he says he spotted a disturbing sight – a man choking a dog.
“He had it in a chokehold and he started walking through the park and he’d throw it on the ground and kick it a couple of times,” Penston told CHEK. “Then he’d pick it up again. He must have kicked him six or seven times.”
As shocked witnesses, including small children who were playing nearby, watched in horror, Penston knew he had to act and confronted the man.
“I confronted him and then he said a bunch of nice words to me and then came up to my face,” Penston said.
That’s when Penston claims the man tried to punch him, but missed and ended up kicking him instead.
“He threw a punch at me and it just missed my head,” Penston recalled. “I just lost my balance and hit the ground and then he booted me in the guts.”
Saanich Police were called but by the time officers arrived at the park, the man had driven away in a dark blue four-door Volkswagen Golf.
Witnesses later told officers that after hitting Penston, the man picked the dog up by the neck and threw it into the Volkswagen. The man, Saanich PD have said, later returned to the park to retrieve another dog he had left there.
Const. Markus Anastasiades told CHEK that the man is facing one count of assault for his alleged attack on Penston, but at this point, he is not facing any charges for his treatment of the dog.
“Officers are still early in the investigation and still speaking to other witnesses in the area, and any charges or any investigative leads pertaining to the welfare of the animal will be checked upon once we identify who this person was,” Anastasiades said.
The suspect is described as a heavyset Caucasian male approximately 5’10 with short dark hair and a tattoo on his right bicep. He was wearing a light grey shirt, jeans, and black shoes at the time of the incident.
It’s unclear whether there is any video of the incident but Saanich PD said someone managed to take a photo of the suspect.
“It’s a great photo and we’re optimistic in identifying this man,” Anastasiades told CHEK.
As for Penston, he’s doing fine and is receiving praise around the neighbourhood.
“One of the little girls came to my house last night with a little letter she made up and thanked me for looking out for the dog and sticking up for it,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Saanich Police Department directly at 250-475-4321 or anonymously through Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.