We were contacted by CBC about a story they were planning to publish regarding the suicide of Jeremy Quaile. We expressed our concerns with the story which makes many presumptions as to the details surrounding Mr. Quaile’s death and the factors that led up to it. We provided a statement which unfortunately was not published in its entirety so we are sharing it here for the benefit of all readers.
This is a difficult case for everyone involved and highlights just how destructive social media can be when an individual is already struggling. We do our very best to monitor on a daily basis all of our social media platforms and definitely sympathize with Mr. Quaile’s family as the social media response in this case was strong. Animal abuse and neglect cases can generate a lot of angry and hateful comments both on our social media pages and on the pages of other animal welfare organizations. While, we believe in the freedom of the press and the freedom of the public to express their opinions, we do our best to remove any posts or comments which are inappropriate, abusive, threatening or inflammatory. In light of this case, we will be reviewing our social media practises to ensure we are doing the very best we can to expediently do this. However, as stated in the release below, there is no basis to suggest our involvement in this case was what led to this terrible series of events. We take mental health very seriously when handling animal cruelty investigations and do whatever we can to get the people we work with, like Mr. Quaile, the support they need and rely on many other agencies to assist us with this. CHS staff were in contact with family members of Mr. Quaile during the investigation to check on his welfare and put his family in touch with him. We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Quaile and extend our condolences to his family and friends.
Following is the full release sent to CBC prior to the story being published:
On Wednesday July 12th, 2017, we were contacted by a City of Calgary agency regarding a call they received for disposal of a deceased dog. The caller gave enough details that the call taker felt compelled to report it to the authorities.
After investigation, it was determined on reasonable and probable grounds, that Mr. Quaile was responsible for causing the dog to be in distress contrary to Section 2(1) of the Animal Protection Act of Alberta (APA). Charges were laid under this section of the Act, which is strict liability legislation. It does not matter whether the charged individual intended to cause the animal’s distress or not. The charges, as well as Mr. Quaile’s identity, were a matter of public record.
This case is tragic on many fronts but there is no basis to suggest the APA charges contributed to this terrible series of events. Our involvement in this case was to lay appropriate charges where a violation of the APA occurred. We are not in a position to make decisions on if charges should be laid or withdrawn based on sympathetic factors. We have a statutory mandate and obligation to enforce the APA and that means protecting all animals within the City of Calgary. It also means working with the citizens of Calgary and their unique situations. We take mental health very seriously and make every attempt to get the people we work with the help they need through education, agency referrals and welfare checks.
We are very sorry to hear of Mr. Quaile’s passing and our condolences go out to his family and friends.