MP Alistair MacGregor tells the crowd that Teddy’s story can be a catalyst for change. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Cowichan MP demands action against animal abuse

Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford presses justice minister on issue

The issue of Teddy, the severely neglected dog from the Cowichan Valley, was raised in the House of Commons in Ottawa on March 29.

During question period, Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, asked Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to honour her 2016 commitment to review the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code.

“In the fall of 2016, the Minister of Justice made a commitment to review the animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code, but 17 months later, we are still waiting,” said MacGregor.

“Teddy’s tragic situation is a stark reminder that Canada’s antiquated animal protection legislation needs an overhaul to end the abuse of our domestic pets.”

In one of the most profoundly shocking and disturbing cases of abuse the BC SPCA ever witnessed, special constables seized the emaciated and chained Teddy in critical distress from a property in Duncan on Feb. 16.

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

Teddy’s owners, Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley, are facing animal neglect and cruelty charges and will make their first court appearance before a judge in the Duncan Courthouse on April 3.

RELATED STORY: ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP PLANS RALLY

McGregor said Paws United hosted a “Cowichan Cares” advocacy event in Duncan on March 25 to commemorate Teddy, and to bring the community together to both grieve and also heal from the tragic case.

“Residents were united in their call for change to our animal protection laws, and it was an honour for me to be a part of it,” MacGregor said to his fellow parliamentarians.

“I demand that this government take immediate action to put greater protections in place for animals. The Minister of Justice must follow through on her commitment to strengthen our animal protection legislation, to ensure situations like Teddy’s never happen again.”

In a letter to Wilson-Rayboult to further his case, McGregor said the House of Commons had the opportunity to make real progress on the issue when members debated MP Erskine-Smith’s private members Bill C-246, the “Modernizing Animal Protections Act”, two years ago.

“I was proud to support that legislation at the time, but, unfortunately, it was overwhelmingly defeated by Liberal and Conservative votes in October, 2016,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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