Melissa Tooshley has been handed a suspended sentence and probation for one year for failing to provide the necessities of life for an animal in the Teddy the dog animal abuse case.
Judge Mayland McKimm also gave Tooshley, 41, a lifetime ban on owning any type of animal or living in a home where animals reside in the Duncan court house Thursday afternoon on Vancouver Island.
Her stepfather Anderson Joe also received a suspended sentence and was also ordered not to own any more animals for the rest of his life when he was sentenced on Monday in the Teddy case.
McKimm said in his summation Thursday that a jail sentence would normally be essential in such an extreme case of animal neglect, but the many mitigating circumstances in the case, and a joint submission by Crown and defence counsels recommending a suspended sentence, were instrumental in his decision.
The court heard that at the time the dog was seized from Joe’s property in 2017, Tooshley, who already had three children, was just in the final stages of a difficult pregnancy and birth, and then was bedridden with postpartum depression.
The court heard that, considering the low cognitive ability of Joe, she was the sole adult in the house and was responsible for the family, the household and the dog in the yard when she was bedridden while Joe was away.
Prosecutor John Blackman said Tooshley, who has no previous criminal record, has taken full responsibility for her actions and acknowledged that she understands that she should have done something to help the dog but, considering her circumstances at the time, was unable.
Special constables seized Teddy in critical distress from Anderson’s property on Feb. 16, 2018.
Teddy was severely emaciated and was on a tether only a few inches long, standing in a pile of mud and feces when he was seized. Teddy’s collar was so deeply embedded into his neck that his head had swollen to two or three times its normal size, and there was a severe infection in his neck. The wound from the collar exposed the dog’s trachea and jugular vein.
Despite extensive emergency treatment and around-the-clock care, the dog succumbed to his critical condition two days later, the SPCA reported.