Man charged with animal cruelty alleges beating
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2007 3:19PM EDT
A Toronto man, who has been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly locking his Rottweiler in a sweltering car, claims he was beaten while handcuffed to his vehicle.
After hearing his car alarm sound, the man rushed out to his vehicle and was apprehended by Humane Society officials who handcuffed him to the car and called police.
The owner of the dog claims he was beaten by angry passersby while authorities attended to the dying animal.
He was bleeding when officers arrived on the scene to take him away.
Humane Society officials were called to a parking lot in the west end of the city on Tuesday afternoon.
A bylaw officer smashed the window of a parked car when the Rottweiler was discovered in the back seat gasping for air.
Lee Oliver, a spokesperson from the Toronto Humane Society, said Wednesday the owner needed to be subdued in order to rescue the animal and was fully supportive of the responding official's actions.
"He was jeopardizing the rescue operation and was threatening the safety of people at the scene," Oliver said.
"He handcuffed him to the car to neutralize that threat."
Oliver says the official left the man handcuffed to the vehicle with no less than five of the man's friends watching over him.
Police at the 14th division say they are not investigating any complaints of abuse at this time.
The owner could face up to six months in jail for the alleged offence.
The dog is currently in critical condition after being locked in 70 degree Celsius heat for three hours or more.
"It's one of the most disturbing things that I've seen in this job that I've worked for over a year now; to see that animal moments from death in such distress slumped over in the back of the car gasping for its last breaths of air," Humane Society official Tre Smith, who rescued the animal, told CTV News on Wednesday.
Officials say they are "cautiously optimistic" the animal will survive.
"He was up for a walk this morning, which is really a big deal," Oliver told CTV News.
"He can move his legs normally when he is walking which means maybe the brain damage isn't as bad as we at first expected."
Oliver says when temperatures reach the mid-thirties the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 70 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
"A dog and a cat both have a core temperature of 39 degrees. When they get above 39, into 40 or 41, they start to suffer forms of morbid organ damage and a little hotter than that, they suffer brain damage and they can pass away pretty quickly," Oliver said.
The Humane Society recommends leaving animals at home with the air conditioning on with a bowl of water during the summer season.
With files from The Canadian Press