Durham cop who took kitten from drug user's home facing police tribunal
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, December 2, 2016 8:28AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 2, 2016 4:26PM EST
A Durham Regional Police officer who removed a kitten from a drug user’s home and took it to the vet for a medical checkup will face a police tribunal on Monday.
Constable Beth Richardson is charged with discreditable conduct in connection with the incident on January 12, 2016.
According to a hearing notice that was obtained by CP24, Richardson was dispatched to an Oshawa home to “check on the wellbeing of a female who had been using drugs for several days.”
Once inside the residence, the notice says that Richardson observed a kitten that was “cowering under a table” and “believing that it was not being properly cared for” removed it from the property without its owners knowledge or consent.
The notice alleges that Richardson also failed to advise her superiors or “document her actions.”
“The owners of the kitten called the communications center and demanded the return of their kitten and wanted Const. Richardson charged with theft after alleging the theft of their kitten was caught on tape,” the notice says. “The kitten was returned to the owner who opted not to lay criminal charges.”
The charge against Richardson was first filed in May.
Discussing the matter with CP24 on Friday, Richardson’s lawyer Joseph Markson said that the kitten was “filthy, smelled like smoke and looked like it hadn’t been fed.”
Markson said his client, who is allergic to cats, initially planned to take it to the humane society but upon realizing that their offices were closed decided to have a friend take it to the vet for a checkup instead. The plan was to have the friend then take the kitten to the humane society in the morning, Richardson said.
“I hope that common sense prevails and they see the compassion and the goodwill and the heart of Const. Richardson and remove this from being over her head,” he said. “You know sometimes we become fixated on things that don’t make sense when you look at the broader perspective. My client could have done a few things better. She could have made notes, she could have been more diligent in looking at how you report this but she is not charged with not completing her notes; she is charged with discreditable conduct.”
If Richardson is convicted of discreditable conduct she could face a demotion, according to the hearing notice.