Petitions and protests grow for beaten puppy

Activists campaign for tougher animal welfare penalties

Rebecca Scott signs the petition held by Andrew Theise Monday on Douglas Street as Cat Rowan looks on. Theise was gathering signatures for a petition demanding jail time for the man who beat a pitbull to death at a Traveller’s Inn.

Rebecca Scott signs the petition held by Andrew Theise Monday on Douglas Street as Cat Rowan looks on. Theise was gathering signatures for a petition demanding jail time for the man who beat a pitbull to death at a Traveller’s Inn.

Andrew Theise’s passion for animals extended to caring for his tabby cat that thinks it’s a dog.

But when he recently heard about Bandit the three-month-old pitbull puppy that was beaten to death in a downtown hotel on New Year’s Day, the 25-year-old went from animal lover to animal activist.

“It feels so good to get up and have 50 e-mails (of support) from people,” the Gordon Head resident said.

He recently began taking to downtown streets to enlist even more support, to encourage the court to hand down a stiff penalty to the 24-year-old Victoria man charged in connection with the puppy’s death.

But he’s worried any punishment that is handed down will only serve only as a slap on the wrist and an order not to own a dog again.

“We’re trying to change that,” Theise said.

He took to the corner of Douglas and View streets last Friday, and within two hours he was shocked to collect more than 200 signatures.

“There’s a lot of support in it,” he told the Victoria News.

Theise planned to join other supporters Wednesday around 8 a.m. at the Bay Centre for a march to the Victoria Courthouse, where he planned to submit the petition and attend the proceedings.

Their cause has also received virtual support from about 1,500 people on Facebook. If the petitions – there are about 50 circulating throughout the Island – don’t work in court, Theise plans to take them to the provincial government to ask that animal welfare laws be toughened.

Brent Malcolm Connors faces charges of killing an animal, animal cruelty and violating court orders.

emccracken@vicnews.com