Calgary father convicted in violent deaths of basset hound, Chihuahua

A Calgary father has been found guilty of the brutal beating deaths of his spouse's two dogs.

WARNING: The details in this story are disturbing

John Geick was convicted Tuesday of fatally beating Sophie the basset hound and Tyler the Chihuahua in February 2019. (Facebook, Jo Smith )

A Calgary father has been found guilty of the brutal beating deaths of his spouse's two dogs.

John Geick, 39, was convicted on two counts of animal cruelty Tuesday by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bernette Ho. 

"I simply did not believe him," Ho said of Geick's testimony.

In February 2019, Joanna Smith and Geick lived together with their infant son in Calgary's southwest.

At the time, Smith had two dogs: a six-year-old basset hound named Sophie and a five-year-old Chihuahua named Tyler. 

Within three days, both animals died suddenly and unexpectedly.

The day of Tyler's death, Smith found a bloody towel, a mallet and electrical tape caked in dog hair in her garage.

Smith testified that after her second dog died, she became suspicious and called the animal hospital asking that the Calgary Humane Society investigate.

Necropsies were done on both dogs and showed the animals died from severe trauma — multiple blunt force injuries so severe, Sophie would have died within minutes, Tyler within hours.

In conversations with Smith and police, Geick admitted to harming the two animals but played down the severity of his violence.

When testifying in his own defence, he told the judge he'd confessed because he believed it would keep his family together.

The judge didn't buy Geick's story.

Ho found there were "significant inconsistencies" in Geick's testimony. She said he was argumentative and tailored his evidence to match other witnesses' accounts.

Dog's liver 'pulverized'

The veterinarian who performed the necropsy found injuries to Sophie's lips, mouth, eye, legs, stomach, head, chest and ears.

The basset hound's liver had been "pulverized" and she bled into her abdomen. 

The dog, said the vet, would have been in "immense pain" and wouldn't have lived more than 60 minutes after being abused.

Two days after Sophie's sudden death, Smith woke up to find Tyler shaking and unable to stand. She and Geick brought him to the vet, who ultimately euthanized the dog because of catastrophic injuries to his belly, inside his mouth, ears and lungs. 

Blood had also pooled in the dog's eyes, indicating he had been choked. 

A risk-assessment report has been ordered and sentencing will take place at a later date.


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach her at or on Twitter at @CBCMeg.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?