March 12, 2018 3:59 pm
Updated: March 12, 2018 4:02 pm

Petition calls for maximum penalty for Duncan couple accused of ‘horrific act of animal abuse’

The dog shortly after he was rescued.

BC SPCA handout

Nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for maximum legal penalties to be applied against the owners of a Vancouver Island dog that died after being found in what the BC SPCA called “profoundly shocking and disturbing” conditions.

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Special constables were called to a home in Duncan on Feb. 16, where they found the dog starving and chained to a fence on a tether only a few inches long. Not only was the dog severely emaciated, the SPCA says his collar was so deeply embedded in his neck that it had exposed his trachea and jugular vein and caused a massive infection.

READ MORE: Dog found chained in Duncan with neck wound so deep his head was 3 times its normal size

Despite extensive surgery and 24-hour care, the dog died two days after being seized.

Its owners, Duncan residents Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley, have been charged with animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada.

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Now, a petition titled “Justice for Teddy!” is calling for prosecutors to seek the maximum legal penalty for that offence: five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

“This poor animal was found starving, chained, his collar embedded into his infected neck, and his head was swollen to twice or three times a normal size,” states the petition.

READ MORE: Pet pig adopted from BC SPCA killed and eaten by new owners

“We are petitioning Crown Council [sic] and our local MLA Doug Routley to ask that the maximum penalty be imposed on Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley for their horrific act of animal abuse.”

The petition also calls for a letter writing campaign to both the Namaimo-North Cowichan MLA and Crown prosecutors demanding the maximum penalty.

Tooshley and Joe are due back in court on April 3.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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