WARNING: Story contains descriptions of animal cruelty.
Returning Daisy, a dachshund that was thrown through the air in a fit of rage, to its owner is not in the animal’s best interest, the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board has ruled.
“The appellant can be seen shifting his weight back onto one leg, lifting Daisy into the air and hurling her like a football at the two residents standing at the gate,” Review Board Presiding Member Wendy Holm said in a written ruling describing scenes from a security video. “Daisy flies through the air, bounces off the shoulder of one resident and then appears to then hit the gate before falling to the concrete.”
The return of Daisy was being sought by the animal’s owner, a former resident of a shelter in Campbell River, after it was taken away from him in a July 25 ruling by the BCSPCA’s protection and outreach services chief, Marcie Moriarty. The owner, identified only as D.B., appealed Moriarty’s decision on Aug. 25 to the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board which, subsequently, rejected his appeal.
The original incident occurred Friday, July 7, 2023, when D.B., who had been living in the shelter for several weeks, left it “for a smoke” after an altercation with two other residents. When he attempted to return, the appellant was told by shelter staff that he was banned from the shelter “for the time being” due to his aggressive behaviour, Holm says in the Review Board ruling. D.B. then requested the staff give him his dog Daisy, which was still in the shelter at the time, and they complied.
D.B. then subsequently got into a verbal altercation with two shelter residents standing by the gate waiting to be let in by shelter staff. A security camera captured the altercation and showed the appellant becoming angry, waving his hands and shouting at the other two residents. The residents gestured back and turned towards the shelter gate and that is when D.B. hurled the dog at them. One of the residents picked Daisy up and entered the shelter with the other resident and the gate was locked behind them.
“The appellant is then seen yelling and shaking in anger, trying to gain entry to the shelter to retrieve Daisy,” the ruling says. “He tries climbing the fence surrounding the shelter before backing away.”
The RCMP were called and D.B. was arrested for causing a disturbance and for cruelty to an animal. The SPCA investigation concluded that Daisy had been abandoned under section 10.1 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA) and D.B. would have to apply to have her returned to him.
On July 25, in a review of the situation, Moriarty agreed that Daisy had been abandoned and that being taken into custody to relieve her distress was appropriate.
D.B., who has been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder and ADHD for years, said Daisy was his “therapy dog” and an “emotional support” integral to his wellbeing. He did later testify that Daisy was not a certified therapy dog. He stated that at the time of the incident, he was in a state of high mental health instability but was now receiving treatment.
D.B. filed a Notice of Appeal of Moriarty’s review decision. In an appeal under the PCAA, a panel must determine whether the SPCA properly exercised its authority in taking Daisy into protective custody and whether Daisy should be returned to the appellant.
The panel agreed that Daisy had been abandoned and in distress under the PCAA at the time of the incident. With regards to whether returning Daisy to the appellant was in the animal’s best interests, Holm says that the board recognizes “the appellant loves Daisy and that it is in his best interest to have her returned to him. However, weighing all of the evidence before it, the panel cannot find that a return to the appellant is in Daisy’s best interest.”
Holm says that “it is time to retire from her role as the appellant’s emotional support dog and move on to her forever home where she will hopefully receive the love and support she needs to heal and trust again.”
In addition to supporting Daisy’s apprehension, Holm ruled that D.B. must reimburse the SPCA for $458.16 in veterinary costs.