An animal cruelty investigator for Toronto's Humane Society has had his licence suspended following an incident in which a man was left handcuffed to a car while his pet was taken away for medical treatment.
The captive man later claimed to police he was assaulted by members of the public while chained to his car.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday it would suspend Tre Smith's investigator's licence, pending an investigation of his actions.
It was on a sweltering July 31 afternoon when Smith rushed to save a Rottweiler named Cyrus, who had been sealed in a parked car that was roasting at temperatures nearing 70 C.
Cruelty investigator Tre Smith was sure the dog was near death and didn't have time to wait for the owners to return. So without hesitating, he broke open the window to reach the limp animal. "I could see through this window and there's a large breed Rottweiler, about 110 pounds, slumped over the back seat with his legs up and a blank stare forward, death stare we call it, foaming from the mouth and he was non-responsive. So I immediately smashed the window and opened the car doors and dragged the dog out and brought it onto the pavement."
When Cyrus's owner returned to his car, the owner was handcuffed to the vehicle and left alone while Cyrus was taken away for treatment.
Smith said "He (the suspect) was threatening and abusive and for my own safety,the safety of others around me and for the safety of Cyrus I needed to tend to Cyrus to save his life"
By the time police arrived, the captive man was bleeding, having been allegedly attacked by angry bystanders who witnessed the incident. "The police hadn't got here just yet but they were almost here, and I had to leave because the dog was non-responsive, had stopped breathing and I had to stimulate the dog just to bring him back," he recalled
Smith also has the backing of witness Andrew McGowan.
"He did his job 100%, and I was there for the whole thing," he said.
Smith remains perturbed by the turn his no-win decision has taken. "I'm shocked and stunned and deeply saddened," he told CityNews late Thursday. "I'm like a quarterback that's benched. Like football, a quarterback is essential and investigators are essential to fighting ... abuse against animals."
Trevor Smith remains under suspension.There's no word on how long the process may take to determine when - or if - he'll be able to go back to work. Hugh Coghill Chief inspector of the Toronto SPCA says "Mr. Smith has not been punished, he is simply not going to participate in law enforcement activities until we establish what happened and why at the incident in question. Then, we'll determine if any follow-up action is required on our part"
The dog's owner, Paul Soderholm, is charged with cruelty to an animal and is scheduled to appear in court next month. If found guilty, he could face a $2,000 fine and six months in jail.
We the undersigned urge the Toronto SPCA to reinstate Mr Smith immediately and commend him on his quick thinking that saved a dogs life.