Kathy Dreilich holds signs against animal abuse in front of the Duncan court house on Nov. 18 as Anderson Joe was sentenced in the case of Teddy the dog. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Anderson Joe will receive a suspended sentence in the death of Teddy the dog.

Joe had pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal and failing to provide the necessities of life for an animal on March 18 and was in the Duncan court house on Vancouver Island on Nov. 18 to receive his sentence from Judge Mayland McKimm.

Joe will be on probation for three months in which McKimm instructed that he must keep the peace and be on good behaviour during that time.

He also received a lifetime ban on owning any type of animal or living in a home where animals reside.

RELATED STORY: TEDDY THE DOG CRUELTY TRIAL TO RESUME BY END OF MONTH

Defence lawyer Michael Ritzker asked that Joe be given a conditional discharge to prevent him from receiving a criminal record for the first time, but while McKimm acknowledged that Joe has had a hard life and has cognitive disabilities, he has the responsibility to send a strong message to society that mistreating animals is not acceptable.

“I have to take a strong public position on animal abuse,” McKimm said in front of a packed courtroom.

“Many cases call out for jail sentences, but this is not one of them. Mr. Joe can apply for a pardon at the end of his three month probation and that is a three-year process.”

Joe could have faced a maximum penalty of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine on top of the lifetime ban on owning animals.

Meanwhile, Melissa Tooshley, who had pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to provide the necessities of life for an animal in the same case earlier in the trial, has withdrawn her guilty plea and is scheduled to be in the Duncan court house on Nov. 21.

RELATED STORY: TEDDY THE DOG TRIAL BEGINS IN DUNCAN

In one of the most profoundly shocking and disturbing cases of abuse the BC SPCA has ever witnessed, special constables seized Teddy in critical distress at the end of short leash from Anderson’s property on Feb. 16, 2018.

Teddy was severely emaciated and was on a tether only a few inches long, standing in a pile of mud and feces when he was seized. Teddy’s collar was so deeply embedded into his neck that his head had swollen to two or three times its normal size, and there was a severe infection in his neck. The wound from the collar exposed the dog’s trachea and jugular vein.

Despite extensive emergency treatment and around-the-clock care, the dog succumbed to his critical condition two days later, the SPCA reported.

The story went province wide, and demonstrators holding signs against animal abuse have been common at each of Joe’s court appearances.

Prosecutor John Blackman laid out the Crown’s case on Monday, and acknowledged that Joe has severe cognitive disabilities and intellectual deficits.

Blackman also said Joe has a long history of unemployment, had suffered physical and sexual abuse as a boy in residential schools and was the victim of racism in public schools.

He also abused alcohol and drugs as a young man, but has been clean and sober for many years after joining the Shaker Church.

“We don’t believe there was any intent by Joe to harm the dog,” he said.

“This offence is extremely serious, but because of Joe’s intellectual impairments, we question how culpable he was. At the age of 63, Joe has no criminal record, spends much of his life assisting at his church or longhouse, and the rest at home with his family. What’s required is for him to be prohibited from owning another animal for life. We recommend a suspended sentence.”

RELATED STORY: PROTESTERS GATHER AS DATE SET FOR DOG ABUSE TRIAL

In his efforts to convince McKimm that Joe should receive a conditional discharge, Ritzker reiterated many of the points made by Blackman, pointing out that the psychology reports on Joe indicate that his intellectual functions are less than 99 per cent of the population.

“Teddy’s life was like a house of horrors, but this man’s life has also been a house of horrors at times,” he said.

“Dogs got more consideration than little indigenous kids in those times [of the residential schools].”

Ritzker said Teddy was given to Joe just weeks before his death.

He said Joe was heading to a longhouse for spiritual healing for many days and left the care of Teddy to other people in his community before he left.

Ritzker said Joe tried unsuccessfully to get help for Teddy upon his return, finding the dog in a bad condition.

“There might have been other things that he could have done, but he couldn’t think of them,” he said.

“There was no malice of callousness on Joe’s behalf. Rather, his lack of action was the result of his cognitive deficiencies and his lack of ability to understand the consequences. The dog was foisted upon him so there’s more blame to go around here.”

Some of the spectators in the courtroom began to get restless when they realized that Joe’s sentence was not to be nearly as severe as they had hoped.

One woman stormed out the door and loudly yelled that “it’s worse than bad here”.

After the sentencing, many stood outside the court house discussing the case.

Rena Van Steele said that she was “very upset”.

“I had not expected to see Joe’s mental capacity so bad,” she said.

“The first question I have is why did no one else go to that home while Teddy was suffering outside? Where were the neighbours? I want to hate Joe and all animal abusers but I can’t hate him now. I feel that we let Teddy down.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey shares in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie success

Jim Carrey among actors in scenes filmed at Joe Brown Park in 2018

Cloverdale resident wants speeders bumped from his road

Lord Tweedsmuir teacher Walter van Halst says safety is number one concern

Surrey mom to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scheme

According to charging documents, Xiaoning Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity to have her son admitted at UCLA

Surrey councillor claims Fleetwood residents caught ‘off guard’ by corporate report

Council approved area plan boundary for Fleetwood that left many “scrambling” to understand, Pettigrew says

Elderly White Rock assault victim upgraded to stable condition

Incident occurred Feb. 19 in the city’s Five Corners district

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Abbotsford mosque gets online hate for exhibit on Jesus

Event meant to bring community together gets attacked teaching religous differences

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Most Read