Brittany Pickard, left, and Christ Wright during the previous United For A Paws campaign of seeking justice for Teddy, another abused dog, in Duncan. (Photo by Robert Barron/Cowichan Valley Citizen)

Brittany Pickard, left, and Christ Wright during the previous United For A Paws campaign of seeking justice for Teddy, another abused dog, in Duncan. (Photo by Robert Barron/Cowichan Valley Citizen)

Animal abuse case has a happy ending

Hope’s story brings up questions about whether there’s any hope of proper criminal convictions

If there’s one thing that gets most peoples’ blood boiling, it’s animal abuse.

We say ‘most’ people because the BC SPCA reports it investigates more than 8,000 cases of animal cruelty each year. That’s a ridiculous number of people taking out whatever their problems are on defenceless animals.

The case of Hope, the one-year-old German shepherd badly abused in May on Penelakut Island, has brought this issue back into prominence. Fortunately, Hope survived and is doing quite well against all odds after suffering horrific injuries.

The other high-profile case in the region involves the severe abuse of another dog, Teddy, in Duncan. That’s been bogged down in the courts far too long for any justice for Teddy – despite the best efforts of the BC SPCA in making people accountable for their actions and much to the chagrin of the United For A Paws organization.

United For A Paws has been very active in rallying to help provide a voice for animals who can’t speak for themselves, but equally frustrated at the lack of getting the courts to start administering punishments that fit the crime.

Right now, the penalties in animal abuse cases are a joke. Two years in prison is not nearly enough considering the nature of the crimes and a $75,000 fine makes no sense whatsoever because no convicted person is ever going to wind up paying a fine that high due to a defence that’s sure to include their financial inability.

The bottom line that United For A Paws emphasizes is ‘No excuse for animal abuse.’ When these cases get to court, the accused persons will disclose some justifications for their actions, but there are no circumstances that can possibly make it right.

It must be stressed in the case of Hope that the abuse stemmed from an individual person’s alleged indiscretions. It had nothing to do with anyone else in the community.

In fact, many people in the Penelakut Tribe went above and beyond to help save this dog from a terrible situation.

Their heroics are being reflected in the dog’s remarkable recovery today. They can all be very proud of what was done in the best interests of Hope.