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Chatham Dog Beater’s Appeal to Regain Custody of Dogs Fails

by Lisa

A Chatham man has lost his appeal to regain custody of his dogs after they were removed by Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR) inspectors and Chatham-Kent police. The appeal was dismissed by the Animal Care Review Board, which ruled that the dogs should not be returned to the owner due to evidence of abuse and distress.

In May 2023, a PAWR inspector removed four dogs and a puppy from the Chatham home after discovering that they had been subjected to physical abuse. The removal was prompted by a concerned neighbor who had captured several videos of the dogs being beaten in the backyard.

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The videos showed the owner striking the dogs using various methods, including open hands, closed fists, and even a flashlight. The inspector noted that the dogs displayed fearful responses, such as cowering low to the ground and running away from the owner. The dogs also exhibited submissive postures, and their behavior indicated distress and fear.

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The owner attempted to justify his treatment of the dogs as a form of training, but a veterinarian who reviewed the videos testified that the correction methods used were causing distress and fear in the dogs. The veterinarian expressed concerns about potential redirected aggression, particularly toward a child who had witnessed the abuse.

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The Animal Care Review Board concurred with the inspector’s findings and the veterinarian’s assessment. The board ruled that the dogs were in distress, and their removal was necessary to alleviate their suffering. The owner’s appeal to regain custody of the dogs was dismissed.

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In her ruling, Board Vice-Chair Susan Clarke emphasized that the owner did not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the dog beatings had ceased or that he could create an environment free from distress for the dogs.

The dog owner, who represented himself during the proceedings, raised concerns about the quality and authenticity of the videos and challenged the inspector’s testimony. However, the board found that the evidence presented clearly supported the decision to remove the dogs from his custody.

The dogs will remain in the care of PAWR, where they can receive the necessary support and therapy to address the distress caused by their previous treatment.

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