North Cowichan politicians and Cowichan Tribes leaders have joined together to condemn recent heated racial remarks and “suspicious acts of violence” on Cowichan reserve lands, as a  high-profile trial of animal abuse continues to unfold in Duncan.

The trial centres around a Duncan couple who were caught keeping a dog in extremely poor conditions on their property in February 2018.

The BC SPCA found the dog, who rescuers named “Teddy”, emaciated and on top of a pile of mud and feces. He was kept there on a tight rope, and his collar had dug deep into his neck, causing a severe infection and making his head swell up to two to three times its normal level.

Two days after he was found, he died from his injuries.

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As the trial continues, local politicians have released a statement asking for an end to heated racial comments and concerning behaviour by crown supporters.

North Cowichan Mayor Siebring has been quick to support the Cowichan Tribes, and said “racism and intolerance have no place in our community, and it’s truly lamentable that a press release such as this would have to be issued.”

The Cowichan Tribes press release explains a concern for the safety and welfare of residents living on the reserve, and asks that the everyone “ratchet down the tension and allow the justice system to do its’ job.”

“Recent suspicious acts of violence and reports of intimidation on Cowichan reserve lands have Chief and Council concerned for the welfare of community members living on Reserve,” said Chief William Seymour.

“This backlash against community is clearly stemming from the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a dog (known as Teddy”.

Seymour also noted that he is concerned that recent acts could “drive a wedge between local indigenous and non-indigenous communities.”

We are sharing this on behalf of Cowichan Tribes, with the following comment from Mayor Siebring:"Racism and…

Posted by Municipality of North Cowichan on Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Last month, one of the accused, Melissa Tooshley, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide necessaries for an animal. Her co-accused, Anderson Joe, pleaded not guilty to all charges back in June, 2018.

The trial continues this week.