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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