Police officer facing tribunal after removing kitten from drug user's home
A Toronto-area police officer who allegedly removed a kitten from the home of a drug user is set to face a misconduct charge at a police hearing next week.
Durham Regional Police Const. Beth Richardson, a 17-year police veteran, has been charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act, in connection with the incident, which occurred on Jan. 12.
According to a hearing notice obtained by CTV News, Richardson removed the kitten after being dispatched to an Oshawa, Ont. rooming house to check on the “wellbeing of a female who had been using drugs for several days.”
The notice states that Richardson spotted the kitten “cowering under a table” while in the drug user’s home.
In an interview with CTV Toronto Friday, Richardson’ lawyer Joseph Markson said the kitten was “looking just ragged,” when his client came upon the pet. “Really thin, very small, smelled like smoke, running eyes, and scared out of its wits.”
Markson said there was “no one around” the kitten in a position to take care of it.
According to the notice, Richardson removed the kitten without the owner’s consent or knowledge.
Richardson allegedly took the kitten to a veterinarian for a checkup where it was “medically cleared.”
It is alleged that Richardson removed the kitten without advising her supervisors, and failed to document her “actions.”
Following the removal, the kitten’s owners called Durham police and “demanded the return of their kitten,” alleging “the theft of kitten was caught on tape.”
The kitten was returned to its owner the same day, and Richardson has not been criminally charged.
Markson said that his client “rescued” the animal with the best intentions.
He added that it’s “hard to understand why you would seek to scar a good officer with the label of discreditable conduct for doing the right thing.”
The “decision” that Richardson made in “rescuing the kitten is at the heart of policing, and to miss that point is concerning,” Markson said.