Teddy trial a failure of justice

The system fails to treat such cruelty as anything more than a misstep

Teddy trial a failure of justice

Re: Sentencing in death of Teddy

In February 2018, the SPCA attended a property in Duncan and found what they described as one of the most shocking cases of animal abuse in the 125 year history of the Society. Teddy, a medium sized dog, was tied on a rope which was only a few inches long and embedded into his neck, causing a massive infection. He was severely emaciated. It required bolt cutters to free him. He died two days later.

Teddy’s owners were Native and public outrage over the incident prompted the local First Nations’ chief and politicians to condemn what they described as racist backlash, urging the public to “let the court do its job”.

In November 2019, one year and nine months after Teddy’s death, the court and Crown counsel did their jobs. Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley both received suspended sentences and a lifetime ban on owning animals. Given the fact that Criminal Code provisions make cruelty to animals punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000 and that the SPCA described this as one of the worst cases of abuse ever perpetrated, the sentence which was recommended by Crown counsel and imposed by the court could only be described as laughable. If only this were a laughing matter.

The question for those of us who care about the rights and welfare of animals is, where do we go from here? We are reassured that animal abuse will be taken seriously. We are reassured that it is a criminal offence with serious penalties to punish and deter such conduct. We are asked to harness our outrage and allow the judicial system to do its work. And then again, and again, and again, the system fails to treat such cruelty as anything more than a misstep, an oversight, a minor infraction barely worth the time and effort it took to prosecute it. Make no mistake about it, the Teddy saga is a complete and utter failure of justice.

I don’t know the answer to the question, “where we go from here”. But I now know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, what isn’t the answer.

Sharon Speevak

Nanaimo

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

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Are slow drivers breaking the law?

When I am behind a driver that is going slower it bothers me.

Flashback: Trips around the lake, to Japan, and on a dangerous highway

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Cowichan’s 49ers just miss fourth Grover Cup

Since the 49ers were founded, the team had never lost a Tony Grover Cup final

Mary Lowther column: Contemplating the compost heap

David made me a three-bin compost system

Sarah Simpson Column: Mistakes will happen but kindness prevails

You know those jerks who always follow the trail directions wrong? I… Continue reading

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Most Read