B.C. man accused of abusing his dog twice gets it back again | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. man accused of abusing his dog twice gets it back again

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A B.C. man with a history of abusing his dog has won an appeal to have it returned after the B.C. SPCA seized it.

According to a March 10 B.C. Farm Industry Review Board decision, Richard Theede had his dog "King" seized by the B.C. SPCA in January after it received a complaint that he'd dragged King across a parking lot and then kicked him.

The decision said this is the second time the B.C. SPCA have seized King.

In 2020, King was seized after Theede allegedly threw the dog against a wall before then kicking it in the stomach.

King was given back to Theede with the condition that he would neuter the dog, and make sure it received veterinary care. The Quesnel resident was also ordered to take anger management counselling and to complete a course on positive reinforcement training methods for dogs.

The decision said Theede did not comply with any of the conditions after the dog was returned to him in 2020.

After King was seized in January, Theede applied to the B.C. SPCA to get the dog back but it refused.

"I believe in second chances and even third chances where possible, and in your case, you were provided with these chances in an attempt at all costs to avoid the situation you are in now with King," the SPCA said in the decision. "Unfortunately, there is simply nothing before me that would make me feel that it would be in the best interest of King to be returned to you."

Theede appealed the SPCA decision with the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board and the case then went to a hearing.

READ MORE: B.C. SPCA seizes homeless dog, but owner still homeless

Surveillance camera footage submitted in evidence and showed Theede and King in the parking lot but there's no coverage at the point when King yelped and Theede allegedly kicking him.

Theede admitted he used too much force with King in the parking lot, but said he was not dragging the dog by the collar and was holding King’s harness. He then said he accidentally stepped on King's tail which is why the dog yelped.

In his submission, Theede said King is his "support system" and had helped him get clean and overcome his addictions.

According to the decision, two witnesses collaborate Theede's story saying they saw him accidentally step on the dog's tail.

The SPCA's animal behaviour expert said the video showed Theede pushing the dog to the ground and yelling at him. The expert said the dog's body language showed the dog is in distress.

"The (SPCA) position is that the behaviour caught on video is a continuation of a pattern of physically and emotionally abusive behaviour towards King that the (Theede) is unwilling or unable to correct," the decision said.

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Another witness said she saw Theede kick the dog twice in the parking lot and then once when entering his apartment away from the surveillance camera.

However, the Board said her evidence wasn't credible as the surveillance footage doesn't show Theede kicking the dog.

The Board said a vet's assessment of King after he was seized found no evidence of physical trauma, bruising or injury which would be expected if the dog had been kicked.

The Board also found the animal behaviourists' evidence didn't hold much weight as the expert didn't examine the dog physically and only based her opinion on the video footage and witness statements.

"There is little doubt that the Appellant yelled and swore at King. While this behaviour reflects poor and uninformed animal handling, it is not sufficient in this case to constitute abuse," the Board ruled. "Photos and video submissions from (Theede) show a dog that is playful, healthy and engaged, and are supported by witness statements and submissions that speak to the (Theede's) loving bond, commitment and connection with the dog."

With that, the Board ruled the B.C. SPCA had no right to seize the dog.

"I find that the animal was not in a condition of distress at the time of the seizure," the decision says.

However, while Theede gets King back, the Board does place conditions on him stating the dog must be neutered within 30 days and he must take a positive reinforcement dog training course.

The Board also dismissed $1,578 in costs to cover vet's bills and food and board while the dog was seized saying as King should not have been seized, the SPCA had no right to charge Theede for the care.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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