Dog rescue or dog theft — looks like courts will decide

This image appeared on a Facebook site shortly after
This image appeared on a Facebook site shortly after 'Bear' disappeared from a home on Mary Street.
— image credit:

A Chemainus man is facing charges of theft and break-and-enter following the disappearance of a Duncan dog in February after allegations of neglect and abuse were widely circulated on Facebook.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Jon Stuart confirmed the accused came forward identifying himself as responsible for taking the dog — known on social media as “Bear” —from its owner’s residence on Mary Street in Duncan.

“In essence, he went into someone’s home and took their property and left,” Stuart said of the situation many followers have chosen to see as a rescue rather than theft.

A Facebook post began circulating mid-February showing a pooch surrounded by what appears to be feces and other filth outside the residence on Mary Street. It was taken down at approximately the same time the dog was reported missing to police Feb. 13.

By the following Sunday, a second Facebook profile had been created, showing the first photo, as well as new photos of the dog, with the caption “I’m safe!”

“I have never had cuddles or been to a groomer before! I haven’t been to a vet till now... My rescuer is in trouble for breaking the law to (ensure) I have my rights any of you would have,” the Facebook profile stated, writing on behalf of Bear on the News Leader Pictorial’s website.

“What the paper hasn’t said was I was being hung inside the house (my legs were not on the ground!) and the police have talked to my rescuer.”

After the article ran Feb. 18, a man contacted the News Leader Pictorial wishing to speak about rescuing the dog. He is now not returning the NLP’s calls.

Meanwhile, BCSPCA staff also confirmed they were aware of the dog’s situation and had an ongoing file on the pet’s owner.

SPCA constable Tina Heary said the SPCA is still waiting on updates from the RCMP.

“If it’s determined the dog is back with its owner... we would most certainly follow up with the owner to ensure the conditions don’t go back to what they were before,” Heary said. “One possible scenario, and what happens sometimes, is where people will re-home the animal. And that’s fantastic.”

Neither the RCMP nor the SPCA had any updates on Bear’s status, nor where the dog is currently residing.

A court date has been set for April 15 for the accused.

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