Sooke psychiatrist and former Greater Victoria school board trustee Philip Ney is disputing a charge of animal cruelty in connection with the death of his dog last January.
He plans to fight the charge when it goes before a judge on Aug. 3 at Western Communities courthouse.
“There’s a very different side to this story,” Ney said. “I took her home after (veterinarian) treatment was refused, and I treated her as best I could under the circumstances.”
Ney, 82, said he took his six-year-old dog, Star, to the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital in January when she was having trouble giving birth. The veterinarian told him the dog had a dead fetus stuck in her birth canal and would need a $4,800 surgery or would have to be euthanized.
He was unable to pay for the vet bill immediately.
“The idea of refusing treatment because of money could never been done in the practice of medicine,” Ney said.
“I didn’t have a choice. I did the best I could with what I could.”
In a press release, the SPCA said Star, a mixed breed dog, died after whelping 14 puppies. She died of a ruptured uterus.
Ney said he took Star home from the veterinarian and she was nurtured while laying on his living room couch. He fed her antibiotics and he consulted with a vet friend.
The dog appeared to be getting better and was allowed to go outside to relieve herself. She ran away three times. Ney couldn’t find her the third time. She was found by an animal rescue group five days later.
Ney denies the dog died from a ruptured uterus.
“Nobody knows when the uterus ruptured .It hadn’t ruptured when I took her and home, and it hadn’t ruptured when I was treating her with antibiotics. There’s still the possibility she could have expelled that fetus,” he said.
“I know she didn’t want to go back to that clinic. She was terrified. She’d been there before. Animals can sense death and she was running away, telling me, ‘I’m not going back there under any circumstances.’”
Now Ney is attempting to clear his name, claiming the negative publicity has tarnished his reputation. He is involved in many charities, including a program in Sooke for children affected by drug abuse and helps more than 90 orphans in Central Africa.
It’s one reason he couldn’t afford the surgery or to have the dog euthanized. The other: he doesn’t believe that euthanasia is a more humane form of death.
“I’ve got to try and clear my name. The dog is one issue, but my reputation is a much more important issue,” Ney said.