A trial date for Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley will be determined by June 19.
Joe and Tooshley are to answer to charges of animal cruelty after a dog, called Teddy, was seized from their care earlier this year died from severe neglect.
The pair were not in attendance on June 5 at the Duncan courthouse during a quick hearing to determine the next steps in the legal process in their case, but dozens of protesters were on hand in and outside the court room.
BC SPCA special constables seized the emaciated, chained dog in critical distress on Feb. 16.
Despite extensive emergency treatment and around-the-clock care, the dog succumbed to his critical condition two days later, the SPCA reported.
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.
It has been determined that the trial should take two days.
The case sparked a wave of protests by animal rights groups, and numerous rallies calling for changes to animal rights laws have been held in the Valley since the death of Teddy.
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Cobble Hill’s Lorriane Bayford, a member of the recently formed “United for Paws” group, spoke for the group of protesters outside the courthouse on June 5 that chanted “no excuse for animal abuse”and waved signs.
“People who abuse animals have to be held accountable,” she said.
“This protest today is mainly about Teddy, but it’s really about animal abuse in general. I want Joe and Tooshley to have a lifetime ban on owning animals as well as jail time, but it’s ultimately up to the courts. This my third time time I’ve been at this courthouse in regards to this case and I’ll be back for the next hearing.”
Laura Taylor, who travelled from Nanaimo to be at the courthouse, said she was shocked that Teddy was in plain view while he was suffering and nobody did anything to help him.
“People have to have the courage to say something,” she said.
“Don’t be a bystander and don’t mind your own business when you see these things. I want to spend this message.”