Humane Society celebrity arrested
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In this 2007 file photo, Tre Smith cuddles Cyrus, a Rottweiler he rescued from dehydration after handcuffing the dog owner's to his car while he gave the animal water. The owner was attacked by a crowd during the incident and later pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.
TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
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Drama continues at the Toronto Humane Society after another high-profile employee, Tre Smith, was arrested Thursday afternoon. Charged with one count of perjury and two counts of impersonating a peace officer, Smith is accused of continuing to act as an investigator despite being suspended last June.
To many, Smith was the public face of the Toronto Humane Society. He pulled heartstrings on CP 24's Animal Housecalls, where pet owners called in with their questions, and THS animals available for adoption were profiled.
In July 2007, Smith made headlines after a dramatic rescue of a rottweiler that had been left in a car on a blistering summer day. He smashed the car window to rescue the dog, who was foaming at the mouth, then handcuffed the animal's owner to the car.
That was the first time the OSPCA suspended him as an animal cruelty investigator. The second time was last June, as part of an ongoing investigation at the Humane Society that saw five other key staff members charged with animal cruelty and obstructing peace officers last November.
"It's alleged he continued to act as an SPCA agent despite his suspension," Chris Avery, lawyer for the OSPCA, said of Smith on Thursday. OSPCA investigator Kevin Strooband, who is heading up the THS case, said Toronto pet owners had confirmed Smith had presented himself as a provincial investigator when meeting with them and their animals in their homes.
Strooband said the perjury charge is related to an affidavit Smith signed in October, in which he claimed not to have been acting as an investigator after his suspension.
With a defiant sway to his gait, Smith said nothing as he was taken out of the THS headquarters at Queen and River Sts., wearing just jeans, a T-shirt and a ski vest, and put into a 52 Division police car.
Strooband and the OSPCA also laid charges earlier Thursday against Mark Beauchamp, an animal cruelty investigator based in Newmarket. They allege that Beauchamp tipped the THS off about last November's arrests, leading staff to move and hide animals. He has been charged with one count of obstructing a peace officer, and was fired as an OSPCA employee.