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Humane Officer Suspended for Helping Dog

Written by PETA | August 14, 2007

Hot_Dog.jpgThere’s a story that’s getting a lot of play in Canada right now about a humane society inspector named Tre Smith who has been suspended following what, based on all the facts I’ve been able to put together on this one, was nothing less than a heroic effort to save a dog’s life in extreme circumstances.

Apparently, Smith responded to a call about a Rottweiler named Cyrus who was locked in an overheated car. Given that animals locked inside cars in the summer can die of heatstroke within 15 minutes, even on a relatively mild day, this was obviously a serious situation, and Cyrus was evidently slumped over and foaming at the mouth by the time the humane officer arrived. Smith reports that he smashed the car window to pull Cyrus out, and handcuffed the owner to the car so that he could rush the animal to the hospital rather than waiting for the police to arrive. He later told reporters:

“I was trying to perform my job to the best of my abilities given a very difficult, threatening and abusive situation.”

The story gets a bit murky after that—apparently, the dog owner’s neighbors were so enraged by his actions that someone took a swing at him, and the cops arrived to find the dude handcuffed to a car with his face bleeding. Which, well, nobody likes getting sucker punched, but nobody likes it when people leave their dogs to die either.

Based on everything I’ve heard so far, it sounds like Smith should be given a medal rather than being suspended. You can read more about the story here, and you can click here for some more info about why you should absolutely never, under any circumstances or for any amount of time, leave your dog alone in a parked car. Also, here’s a picture of some happy dogs cooling off in a paddling pool.


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  • Anonymous says:

    Um just to let people know. Not everyone thinks that dogs are on the same level as human beings. This guy is NOT a police officer. He broke the window got the dog. The police were on their way. They would have found the guy as it was his car just look up the registration. It seems that people seem to think that a human is worth less than a dog. This Tre guy should get fired and not be involved with HUMANS for life. D

  • Anonymous says:

    Ya and what you “MENTAL CRIMINAL LOVERS” don’t understand is you all have bleeding hearts for these sick people untill it hits home right? people who hurt innocent children and animals should be shot in the head! so do us all a favour keep these crazy’s in YOUR neighbourhood and then talk to me about “human rights”

  • Tina says:

    I am writing about the Tre Smith incident. Mr. Smith is a “Humane Society Inspector” who was doing his job. The owner got his justice. Karma what goes around. I don’t understand how people can own pets and yet not take care of them. What part don’t them understand Pets can’t take care of themselves. They are Your responsibility just like children. From the day you get your pet until it’s demise IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!! Thank you Tina

  • WTF says:

    How many officer will Hesitate ????? Are you kidding me ??? None that know the law and what the hell they are doing will hesitate one bit ! What you mental animal lovers are missing here is that a basic human right was taken away from a human being. That guy could have been killed tied to that car. Tre is a loser for doing what he did. This is one of those cases where tree huggers scream police excessive force…. except… if its Tre the animal saviour ! Wake up losers !

  • Anonymous says:

    Unfortunatly i must agree with some of the comments made by Joey. I was in a position to observe some of the decisions made by the management at the THS over the past year and a half and they have not been the best decisions for the shelter as a whole. While many of the staff members have the animals best interest at heart the management at this organization needs an overhaul and hopefully the THS will build and improve upon some of the great work they have already done.

  • Tanith says:

    The sad thing is with Tre Smith being suspended how many of the officers are now going to hesitate next time they need to make a decision about an animal rescue.

  • Joey says:

    I think it’s very interesting that nobody questions Tre’s experience the truth is he’s been an agent for less than a year and the THS paid for his course and he didn’t do very well either he barely passed. Let’s not forget also that Trevor’s predecessor was fired by the humane society for exactly the same things overstepping his bounds and not keeping and filing his reports thus embarrassing the THS in court. But ultimately the management at THS will tire of Trevor as well and get rid of him to make space for the new “donations getter”. Wise up people Mr.Trow is a vindictive jealous egomaniac. He already walks around criticizing Trevor saying “Who does he think he is?” And unfortunately Mr.Trow is right who DOES Trevor think he is? He put SARGEANT’S STRIPES on his uniform!! That’s not part of his uniform ! And he carries handcuffs. HELLO!! Handcuffs are for police officers not trained monkeys dancing in front of t.v. cameras with a donation cup. This rally of support is just a big cover up of the immense and overpowering incompetence that rules the roost at the THS. If you don’t believe me just go down there and see for yourselves what a mess the place is.

  • Nicky says:

    Tre saved a dog…Yahoo!!! But Tre screwed up! BIG TIME!!! Duty of Care is implied when you restrain a suspect. That means basically that Tre was responsible for the safety of the abuser. Tre should have taken the abuser with him hancuffed in the vehicle…that’s how police roll everyday. He should have his license removed. BTW!! Congrats to Tre for winning a roll in the new HULK movie…maybe if the Humane Society had hired someone more experienced in Law Enforcement instead of PR there would have been a different outcome.

  • Joyce says:

    I’m behind him 100!

  • Joey says:

    The real issue here is not that Tre handcuffed a difficult person to a car. The real issue is the guy’s human rights. When Tre left the scene why didn’t he take the guy with him and the dog? Yes it was a desperate situation but you can’t blame the OSPCA for their decision. They’ve had it up to here with the cowboy antics at the humane society. This boils down to experience and in Tre’s caseinexperience. Lots of agents face similar conditions everyday. They do not leave people handcuffed to their vehicles like prisoners to be assaulted by the angry mob. Even if the guy gets the maximum penalty for almost killing that dog Tre must pay for this indiscretion and the OSPCA was only covering their ass they can’t risk a lawsuit by this guy. Imagine if Tre had left him handcuffed but able to walk around at least the guy could’ve run away from his assailants. Considering that Tre’s first priority was the dog in that situation he should’ve let the guy go and waited till the cops find him later with all the I.D. Tre pulled off him and attend to the dog. Tre acted worse than an officer of the law. Ask around you won’t find too many cops who’ll say it’s okay to handcuff somebody to a car and leave when you know damn well as soon as you do the angry mob will pounce. A bad situation all around but rules are rules. And just because Tre decides to wear handcuffs doesn’t mean he’s entitled to use them. This also isn’t the first time he’s handcuffed a person. He is an OSPCA agent. Care for the dog leave the owner for the cops. Experience would have helped in this situation because ultimately Tre is like a newly appointed Sheriff walking around with a new badge and his thumbs in his belt. Anyway even if Tre is never allowed to be an agent again there are MANY people qualified and willing to take his place. And that means Tre’s absence does not mean that animals will be more abused.

  • Michele says:

    The humane officer did what he felt he had to do in those circumstances. The people who believe he was wrong do not seem to be thinking about the fact that he saved a life. Any humane officer police officer security guard etc cannot make a decision to arrest or not based on how other citizens might react. Tre Smith took reasonable steps to deal with the dog owner in a less intrusive manner but because the owner was being aggressive the humane officer took further action based on that behaviour and not based on whether or not other bystanders might behave badly as well.

  • Summer says:

    It’s easy to say the offender shouldn’t have been handcuffed to the car since you weren’t there… And the point is none of us were there. We don’t know exactly what was going on. We should have more faith in the humane inspector.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Benjamin Tre probably doesn’y consider himself a “pet hero”. He was just doing his job. The dog was near death. What would you have him dowalk away? Is that what you would have done? If Tre didn’t smash the window someone else might have. The dog owner is obviously a jerk because 1 He shouldn’t have worried about his window but about the life of his dog. 2 Someone who truly valued and loved their dog wouldn’t do what he did in the first place. In Tre’s opinion the guy committed a crime. That’s why he detained him. You are also stating a lot of opinions as fact. Tre is innocent until proven guilty. But if you like please post the course of action you would have taken.

  • Janet from Toronto says:

    Living in Toronto and being familiar with Ontario’s antiquated animal laws I’ve been watching the Tre Smith situation closely. It’s such a shame that this officer is being put on suspension for doing his job saving animals in distress. What makes everything worse is that the owner of the dog in question has been quoted in the newspapers as saying that he is determined to get his dog back! Knowing the stupid laws here he’ll probably succeed.

  • dawn says:

    the guy who left the poor dog in the car should get a stiff fine. the guy who left a human being handcuffed to a car with a angry mob should get a stiff fine and FIRED!!!

  • susie says:

    benjamin i work for a corrections facility. many of the officers are animal lovers and rest assured they are very professional. being a nurse and loving animals as much as i do does not make me unprofessional! this was a weird comment on your part.

  • Dino Mackey says:

    Frankly the simple answer is the owner should be severely punished for abusing his dog and Trevor Smith should be severely punished for abusing his power and leaving a man to be beaten on purpose. Either way I’m still a Person for Eating Tasty Animals

  • NT says:

    I followed this story and I went to the rally in support of Tre Smith. Forgive me if I don’t have any sympathy for someone capable of leaving a dog in a hot car for hours with no water and no air while he visited friends. The animal welfare laws in Canada are over a century old and so lacking that some animal lovers just feel they have to take the law in their own hands. It is not right but you can understand our frustration. If we are lucky Cyrus’ owner will get a 6month MAXIMUM sentence in jail and a fine of up to $2000! Wow! That’s punishment … Most offences don’t result in convictions because according to the current archaic laws you have to prove that the person “willfully” tried to hurt the animal. All he has to say is ” I didn’t know that leaving the dog in the car was a bad thing” and he will be given a slap on the wrist. He will go back home and be able to have more animals. According to Tre Smith handcuffing the guy was necessary because he was more concerned about the broken window in his SUV than the life of his dog. He became violent and would not let Tre attend to the dog. Please participate in the petition to ask the Ontario Government to pass tougher animal cruelty laws. Thanks httpwww.petitiononline.comths0708

  • Benjamin says:

    Get real. That sad excuse for an officer needs a serious reprimand he and many of you need to understand his actions were quite possibly deliberate… to have that man beaten by an obviousely angry mob. Reports indicate Trevor Smith refuses to give a statement which is required of him. His lack of an account of the incident immediately afterward is a serious indication of his guilt. He could very well be awaiting the outcome of witness statements BEFORE he issues his. Doctoring his story perhaps? SPCA has no choice but to suspend him under the circumstances. He should realize public safety is 1. Pet heroes aren’t the kind of people you want as SPCA officers. You want professionals. His conduct shows he is seriousely lacking professional actions and decisionmaking ability. Many of you need to grow up.

  • renee says:

    whats wrong with handcuffing the man to the car? He didnt like being confined to the car? Was he stuck somewhere he didnt want to be with help from a human as his only way to get out of the situation? Sounds exactly like what the dog just went through. Too eye for an eye. The dog is a living creature too..and maybe the neighbors should have been as concerned when they saw the dog like that in the first place.

  • Frances says:

    He wasn’t suspended for rescuing the dog he was suspended for putting a human being in a life threatening situation which is NOT cool. The guy may be a crap dog owner but he doesn’t deserve to be chained to a car. The man should have handcuffed him with BOTH hands and put him in the car. That’s all there is to it.

  • Maya says:

    Kelly sweetheart I hope you never dream of being a humane officer because if they get wind of your logic you’ll never get in. You’re probably too young to understand this but if anyone including an officer handcuffs someone to an object and leaves them unguarded by an official they will be in lots of hot water. Don’t take my word for it. Call the cruelty division or ask a police officer why it’s so serious. You don’t seem to be picking up what I’m putting down.

  • Anonymous says:

    get a life peta eat meat

  • Anonymous says:

    I am from Montreal but i was on a toronto channel when the news came on and i actually saw it the report and the video of the dog. the dog looked as though he was going to die. he was in very critical condition and they did not think he would have made it through the night. they reported on him the next day i waited all day just to see if they would give an update on him and he was walking and doing better but he was still in very critical condition. that’s all i heard about it. the video is horrifying. maybe you can find it on ctv’s website ctv toronto it happened the first week of august.

  • Cindy says:

    In addition to my earlier response and just to clear things up Maya Tre first handcuffed the guy and had him sit on the sidewalk but the guy was still threatening and abusive and kept getting up from the sidewalk so that’s when he handcuffed him to the car. As for what you said about the guy being helpless being handcuffed to the car how do you think Cyrus felt being locked in that car? I agree with Kelly…you need to get out more.

  • Jessica says:

    Perhaps if PETA gave him an award it bring attention to the fact that he did the right thing? And perhaps mention at the time that the neighbor who took a swing did the wrong thing?

  • kelly says:

    Maya connect to the real world!!! Police officers do this all the time. This is common practice This was not a daycare center. In a stressful threatening situation an officer needs to act quickly secure the scene and get medical attention for those who need it. And that’s exactly what happened. It is not a “punishment.” Perhaps if you were involved in situations of immediate direct threat and an animal or human that is dying you might understand this. Or if you had any idea of how law enforcement operates. The world is not a nice comfortable living room where people can sit around and pontificate and be “nice.” You need to get out more!

  • Nan says:

    Human behavior never fails to amaze me. I live in the midwest and we recently had a news story involving a highly respected veterinary worker who went on vacation leaving her 17 yearold daughter in charge. A neighbor stopped by and found the girl had neglected to feed or water the animals in her care. The neighbor contacted police who responded and found four dogs who had died of starvationdehydration and maggots and larvae floating in a watering trough for horses that had not been changed or filled in over a week. The daughter has a MySpace page which was updated on August 13th. In her profile picture she is flipping the bird to the camera with the caption “Forgive and Forget”. Unbelievable

  • observer says:

    police officer maya says what if what if what if What if the handcuffed guy threatening the officer swung at him and the people helping? what if the guy bolted? officers restrain combatants how ever it takes.

  • Anna says:

    That picture is sooooooo cute! Those dogs look so happy!

  • Maya says:

    Of course he should have handcuffed the guy. But attatching him to the car?? You’re just begging for trouble. The guy at that point was helpless. What if someone had decided to hotwire the car and kill the guy? I’m not saying he should be punished so harshly just that Duh when you leave a human being that vulnerable you are responsible if he gets injured. But I would have let the humane officer off with a warning.

  • Canaduck says:

    Sounds like Tre did the right thing absolutely and I mean down to handcuffing the guy. Of course the people who beat him up should be persecutedit isn’t right to punch somebody just because you don’t like what they’re doing but I don’t see anything wrong with Tre Smith’s actions.

  • kelly says:

    Maya what are you talking about??!!!?? Police officers restrain suspects in this fashion all the time when there are more immediate concerns such as an injured person that needs treatment or assistance etc

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Kelly thanks for the link to the Toronto Humane Society. There are links on that page you can follow to help Tre out. Tre had no control of the people who allegedly started to beat on the owner of the car. Life can be really messy sometimes. Tre just did what he felt had to be done save the dog bring the miscreant to justice. PETA members please check it out and voice your support.

  • Cindy says:

    I agree with what everyone has written here so far except for a few things that Maya has said. First of all I just want to mention that I live less than 12 an hour away from where all of this took place. Besides that I absolutely agree with the officer handcuffing the guy to his car. He was threatening the officer and the people who were helping him out with Cyrus. What else was he supposed to do? Let him possibly attack someone? If he doesn’t care about the dog he’s not going to care about attacking a human. The guy was more concerned about his car window being broken than about the dog being just about dead. Maya you’re making it sound like the officer handcuffed the guy because of what he did to the dog when that was NOT the case at all. And whether the guy was handcuffed or not I’m sure he still would have been punched out and what isn’t fair is that whoever hit him probably will get more of a punishment than the guy who left the dog in the car. Here in Ontario IF you are even convicted of cruelty to animals all you get is a slap on the wrist 6 months in jail andor a $2000 fine. It’s a disgrace. So as for what happened Tre Smith did exactly what he should have and he saved Cyrus’ life in the meantime. He should not be suspended and I hope he is allowed to go back to investigating asap. As for the other guy he should be charged just the same as if he had done it to a human but I know that won’t happen so the most I can hope for is that he actually gets the maximum punishment allowable for cruelty to animals.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Tre I’m behind you 100. I’ve dealt with the Toronto Humane Society and have been nothing but impressed. When we adopted our calico there they checked us out thoroughly and I was not in the least offended but rather thankful that they’re so careful. I once took an injured rock dove to them and they were very gracious and informative when I called to see how my little buddy was doing. Two of my best friends volunteer there and bottlefeed orphaned kittens. The THS is a great place I always donate and they had better stand behind their man.

  • Brianna Fritchey says:

    That’s absolutely crazy! He was just doing his job. If there was a baby trapped in a car anybody would have done the same thing! Killing your dog is against the law and the officer was just preventing that from happening! The stupid owner should consider himself lucky that the officer came in time to save the dog or he’d have been brought up on charges for killing his own dog!

  • Lisa says:

    Last year I smashed a car window to get a dog out as it was so hot and I could see the dog suffering and If I ever see this again I would do

  • kelly says:

    How to help Tre Smith

  • kelly says:

    Tre Smith SHOULD be receiving a medal. What has Canada come to? And it is time to pass laws not only punishing people who do this but allow people to rescue the dogs.

  • Kris Shulfer says:

    he did a very heroic thing by saving that animal knowing he may lose his job!!! his love for animals and sense of reason were the right way to go!!! i would have done the same thing!!! i love you for what you did!!! you rock!!! Thanks for helping and doing a great thing for Cyrus!!!

  • Amir Harastani says:

    My compliments for this cute and lovely picture which i downloaded immediately for my private album! Dogs are very fond of water indeed and they should never be left alone in a closed car specially during summer time and I think that the officer was acting very well in freeing the closed dog in this way! The dog’s owner should really help him to get out of this awkward situation! I’m not driving but if my dog would be saved like this I would be very thankful!!!

  • BullyDawg says:

    But what happened to Cyrus?!?! I’m DYING here! DUH…never mind I read the story. But what a timely one! It’s 102 where I am and not getting any cooler this week! Bring your dogs in everybody and only let them out to poop!

  • Maya says:

    What if the guy’s neighbors had decided instead to ram their car into the guy’s handcuffed body? He should not have handcuffed the man to the car. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Don’t get me wrong if I had been an officer judge the man who locked the poor creature in the hot car would have hell to pay. 25 years in jail no parole. Lifetime ankle monitoring to make sure he never owns pets again. A fine of 10000 dollars to go to the dog’s medical bills and the rest goes to a shelter. But handcuffing the guy to the car…..I don’t think it was malicious just a bit blurred thinking on the humane officer’s part. I agree he should not be suspended but the guy could have been killed in a greusome way and I’m sure the officer would have felt bad. The guy who socked him should be punished big time again two wrongs don’t make a right. I still hope the dog abuser goes to jail.