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a single charge of failing to provide the necessities of life for an animal in the same case earlier in the trial, has withdrawn her guilty plea and is scheduled to be in the Duncan court house on Nov. 21.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

Last year, the Mission Christmas Bureau celebrated its office opening with an open house. Covid-19 has forced the organization to switch to online registrations this year. / Kevin Mills File Photo
Registration for this year’s Mission Christmas Bureau will be completed online

Bureau gearing up to make Christmas possible for hundreds of local families and children in need

Barry Shantz in 2015 in front of a homeless camp at Gladys Avenue and Cyril Street. Abbotsford News file photo.
RCMP officers cleared in killing of Abbotsford homeless advocate

Barry Shantz was shot following a mental health crisis at his home on on Jan. 13, 2020,

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Local photographer Wolf Drescher spotted film crews set up along Esplanade Avenue in front of Canwest Art Gallery on the Lake on Thursday, October 1. Film production crews working on ‘Solitary’ will be around the area until close to the end of the month. (Contributed Photo/Wolf Drescher)
“Solitary” Update: Dramatic action scene to be filmed in Agassiz

‘Solitary’ will film a break-in, getaway at Kent Outdoors

A Rick Hansen Secondary School student died in hospital after suffering a medical incident in class on Monday. (File photo)
Abbotsford student dies after medical incident in class

Rick Hansen Secondary School offering additional counselling for students who require it

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

A black bear targets a bird feeder by the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River in Chilliwack on Oct. 7, 2020. (William Snow photo)
Public safety of residents cited as young bear euthanized in Chilliwack

Human-habituated bear was hanging around residential areas and bird feeders near the Vedder River

Most Read