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Charges Dropped Against Police Officer Who Rescued Kitten from Meth User

Animal Justice May 11, 2017

Compassion won the day in Oshawa, Ontario this week after police prosecutors finally withdrew a disciplinary charge against an officer who helped a kitten in distress. Shockingly, police officer Beth Richardson was being prosecuted by the police for a simple act of kindness—rescuing a kitten named Tia, whom she found cowering under a chair at the home of a meth user.

According to the notice of hearing, officer Richardson had been dispatched to a home where a woman had been using crystal meth for several days. She saw Tia hiding underneath a chair, believed the kitten was at risk and not being properly cared for, took Tia to a veterinarian, but was forced to return her to the home later when the meth user’s boyfriend called to complain.

When news of the prosecution hit the media, the public was shocked that a police officer could get in trouble for protecting an animal. That’s when Animal Justice stepped up to help officer Richardson fight the charge. Lawyers for Animal Justice filed a motion to intervene in the case at a hearing last December to explain why the legal system should be used to help animals, not punish compassionate people who try to protect them. As a cat, we argued that Tia must not be treated like a piece of property but as a living being with needs of her own.

Animals won a huge victory at that hearing when Animal Justice successfully convinced police prosecutors that rescuing an animal is an honourable action—not discreditable conduct. The police also acknowledged that their duty to preserve life includes animal life as well as human beings. Yet they refused to halt the prosecution, claiming officer Richardson did not properly document her actions in rescuing Tia.

On Tuesday, May 9 the police finally withdrew the charge against officer Richardson. According to a joint statement, the police now acknowledge that the officer was “genuinely concerned about the welfare of an animal in distress”, and she has agreed to continue to “promote animal welfare in the community.”

The best part? Tia has since been adopted into another home, and her new family brought her over for a joyful reunion with officer Richardson after the charge was dropped.

Animal Justice thanks officer Richardson for the love and compassion she showed to Tia, a vulnerable animal in need. Her actions are a model for all law enforcement officers. Compassion wins!

Photos courtesy of Mary-Chris Staples.

Animal Justice

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Police Officer Faces Discipline for Rescuing Kitten from Meth User

Animal Justice December 2, 2016

TORONTO – A Durham region police officer who rescued a kitten named Tia from the home of a crystal meth user is facing a police tribunal disciplinary hearing on Monday. Police Constable Beth Richardson is charged with discreditable conduct for rescuing Tia after she found the kitten cowering under a chair at the home of the drug user.

National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice will ask to intervene at the hearing to provide the Tribunal with valuable context on how the law is evolving to protect animals’ interests. Animal Justice will argue that the officer’s actions were heroic and compassionate–not wrongful.

According to the notice of hearing, P.C. Richardson was dispatched to a home where a woman had been using crystal meth for several days. She saw Tia hiding underneath a chair and believed the kitten was at risk and not being properly cared for. The officer took Tia to a veterinarian, but was forced to return her to the home later when the drug user’s boyfriend called to complain.

“P.C. Richardson deserves praise for trying to protect Tia, not punishment,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Tia should not be treated like a mere piece of property, but rather a living being with needs of her own. Our legal system should be used to help animals, not to punish those who try to protect them. It’s shocking that this officer is facing discipline for showing kindness toward a animal who appeared to be endangered and in need of protection. ”

Discreditable conduct is an offence under the Police Services Act and the officer could face punishment if the Tribunal finds her guilty.

The hearing will take place on Monday, December 5 at 9:30 am in Whitby, Ontario. Animal Justice has filed an application to intervene in the case and will ask the Tribunal to consider the application at the outset of the hearing.

Animal Justice is represented by lawyer Marc Isaacs of Isaacs and Co. law firm.

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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