A trial date has been set for a Vancouver Island couple accused of animal cruelty.
Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley pleaded not guilty after having their dog, Teddy, seized earlier this year. The animal could not be saved and died from severe neglect. A trial date has been set for February 2019.
Roughly 15 animal rights supporters gathered at the Duncan Law Courts Tuesday morning to show their support.
Some of those supporters were shocked to learn it would be a year before the trial date.
Gary Shade, a spokespersonn for the group, said no matter what the timeline is, they’ll be there.
“We’re here to support justice for Teddy,” Shade said. “I’m not surprised [about the timeline]. That’s the court system,” he said. “If they let it go long enough it may just get thrown out of court like other trials do.”
BC SPCA special constables seized the emaciated, chained dog in critical distress on Feb. 16. Teddy died two days later.
If convicted, Joe and Tooshley face a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Cowichan Tribes, with input from the BC SPCA, are working to update their animal bylaws after the case went public.
Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour has gone on record to say it’s unfortunate what Teddy went through.
“We hope that with greater education on proper treatment, and how to identify and report an animal in need of care, we can prevent cases like this in the future,” he said in March.