New Brunswick

Woman who took snow-buried dog says she faces theft charges

A Kent County woman who took a tethered dog from a snowed-in doghouse says she's being charged with theft.

Nicole Thebeau removed a tethered dog from snowed-in doghouse

The woman who took this dog after its doghouse was buried in snow says she is facing theft and possibly trespassing charges. (Nicole Thebeau/Submitted)

A Kent County woman who took a tethered dog from a snowed-in doghouse says she's being charged with theft.

Earlier this month, Nicole Thebeau removed the dog after someone discovered its doghouse buried underneath the snow.

The dog's owner was away at the time, but said a family member had been delivering food and water to the animal. The owner said she wants her dog returned.

Thebeau, head of the Kent County Animal Rescue, says an RCMP officer came to her house on Wednesday night and asked her to go into the local office on Thursday to make a statement. Thebeau says she's not sure whether the charges include trespassing as well as theft.

She is still refusing to turn the dog, now in foster care, back over to its owner.

But she says she'd do the same thing again.

Fundraising effort

"Yes I definitely would. It's been proven animals have feelings just like we do. And it's not enough to just have food, water, shelter anymore. They need love, they need compassion, they need care," said Thebeau.

"It's just awful. If it was to happen again, I'd do it all over again. I'm sick and tired of seeing them suffer like this and it's time we stand up and do something for them."

Thebeau says she took the dog after the New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals paid a visit and didn't take any action.

However, Hillary Howes, the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, says the dog had fresh food and water available when they arrived. He says they were unable to get in touch with the appropriate individual.

Under New Brunswick law, tethering a dog is allowed as long as the dog has food, water and shelter.

"Let’s face it, the whole core of this problem isn't us, isn’t Nicole. It’s the fact you're allowed to tether a dog 24/7. It’s a law we need to get changed as soon as possible. And this organization is working tremendously hard with other animal advocacy groups to accomplish this."

A group of Thebeau's supporters have started a fundraising effort to help cover her legal costs.

"There's like 5,000 people in that group now that all love animals and all support the work that I do and right now all behind me 100 per cent," said Thebeau.

"I have no intention of returning those animals to suffer in those chains. No, I will do what it takes to keep them away from that."

Richibucto RCMP say the investigation continues. They would not confirm that charges have been laid or are forthcoming.