CEO of Catering Company Caught on Tape Abusing Dog
The disturbing surveillance footage, which depicts a man kicking and strangling a year-old Doberman Pinscher puppy in an elevator, started receiving attention after an employee at Vancouver's Private Residences at Hotel Georgia sent it to the SPCA. The man was identified as Desmond Hague, the CEO of Centerplate, which provides catering for over 300 major venues across North America, many of them sports arenas. As for the clip, filmed while Hague was in Vancouver last month, we don't recommend watching it.Hague has since apologized in a statement, calling the incident "completely and utterly out of character" and claiming he'd lost his temper after a minor frustration with a friend's pet. But an ensuing investigation, which found the dog (named Sade) crated in Hague's apartment and standing in her own urine without food or water, determined that she was registered to him.
According to authorities, Sade's anxious demeanor suggests that this isn't the first time she'd been subjected to abusive treatment. "The way she behaves certainly gives the indication of fearfulness, and that indicates she has received this treatment before," Laurie Chortyk of The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told U-T San Diego.
In a statement, Centerplate said that Hague will be doing 1,000 hours of community service and donating $100,000 to a foundation that helps animals--and while he has been placed on probation, SFist.com reports, he has not yet been fired. And while many of Centerplate's clients, including the San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium and the San Diego Convention Center, have released statements in response to Hague's actions, so far none of the caterer's 300-plus contracts have been cancelled.
"While deeply troubling, Mr. Hague's actions are personal and are not a reflection of the hundreds of local San Diego Centerplate employees that deliver the highest quality of service at the San Diego Convention Center every day," Steven Johnson, the venue's spokesman, said in a statement.
Nevertheless, some sports fans on social media have called for a boycotting of venues that work with Centerplate, and a Change.org petition demanding that Hague be fired has received 30,000 signatures.
The British Columbia SPCA has recommended animal cruelty charges against Hague. If convicted, the organization said, he could face up to two years in jail, a $75,000 fine and a ban on animal ownership.
Sade is currently in the care of the SPCA in Vancouver and waiting to be adopted. Authorities said she's in good condition, with the Vancouver Sun reporting that she'd suffered "no lasting physical damage."
"The dog's in our care now," Chortyk told U-T San Diego. "We'll make sure she gets a nice home."