TORONTO, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Toronto Humane Society animal cruelty
investigator Tre Smith was named Animal Rescuer of the Year by the
International Positive Dog Training Association during the IPDTA's fifth
During a gala dinner held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Centre in
Kitchener, Ont., Smith's July 31st, 2007 rescue of Cyrus, a 110 lb Rottweiler
sealed in a sweltering car and only moments from death, was celebrated as a
selfless and heroic act. Smith broke the car window, carried the dog to a
shaded area and resuscitated the dog while Good Samaritans delivered dozens of
buckets of cool water to douse Cyrus and reduce his core temperature.
In the course of the rescue, Smith was forced to handcuff the dog's
owner, Paul Soderholm of Mississauga, Ont., to the door of the car after
Soderholm became threatening. Smith, after contacting police and being assured
they were en route, made the difficult decision to leave Soderholm cuffed to
the car (to be collected by the police) while the THS Agent rushed Cyrus to
the Humane Society emergency room.
In the short period between Smith's departure and the arrival of the
police, passersby assaulted Soderholm. Two men were later charged with assault
in that incident.
In the ensuing week, the Ontario SPCA (the licensing body for animal
cruelty investigators province-wide) suspended Smith's license. Initially, the
OSPCA cited the use of handcuffs as the reason, but later suggested the
suspension was the result of tardy paperwork. Smith has remained in a state of
professional limbo ever since. He is on restricted duty at the Toronto Humane
Society awaiting the resolution of the situation.
"The IPDTA award is bittersweet," notes Smith. "I'm proud to be honoured,
but it still sickens me that the only reason I've won this award is because
Cyrus nearly died."
"As brave as the rescue may have seemed," says Smith, "I want to note
that the IPDTA is incredibly brave for giving an award to me despite the
IPDTA founder and chair Norma Jeanne Laurette insists the controversy
didn't faze her organization: "Tre is NOT responsible for what angry
by-standers did to this irresponsible dog owner, but he IS responsible for
saving Cyrus' life."
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For further information:
For further information: Lee Oliver, Senior Communicator, The Toronto
Humane Society, Tel: (416) 392-2273, ext 2149, Cell: (416) 984-3097