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Petition demands licence cancellation for North Vancouver physio who beat blind dog

The North Vancouver man pleaded guilty last month to animal cruelty charge
Bear dog on beach A petition is demanding that a North Van physio's licence be revoked after he pleaded guilty in August to beating an elderly blind dog. Photo: SPCA

Over 8,700 people have signed an online petition asking that a North Shore physiotherapist’s licence be cancelled after he pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty for beating a blind and elderly dog in a parking garage.

Authors of the petition on say they think the licence of John David McCordic of North Shore Orthopaedic and Sports should be cancelled over his actions.

“A person who is capable of this kind of cruelty towards any living creature should not be able to work closely with humans and should be held to a higher standard of morals and ethics,” the petition states.

The author says she plans to forward the petition to the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia.

McCordic, 63, a former North Shore resident, pleaded guilty last month in Vancouver provincial court to causing an animal to be in distress, under the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Crown counsel Jim Cryder told the court McCordic’s attack on the dog first came to light four years ago – in May 2016 – when a Vancouver building manager called the SPCA to report footage of a disturbing attack on a dog had been captured on a parkade’s security camera.

The video showed McCordic with an 11-year-old Bouvier dog named Bear, owned at the time by his girlfriend.

The video showed McCordic – with an “odd smile” on his face – repeatedly lifting up the dog by the legs and slamming the animal into the concrete, said Cryder. “He then kicks the body of the dog quite hard,” said Cryder. “He kicks at the head of the dog twice.”

McCordic then started taunting the dog, who was partially blind and deaf at the time, kicking his feet near the dog’s face and stepping on her paws, said Cryder.

The attack lasted about 90 seconds, said Cryder. But unlike situations where people rapidly lash out in anger “this was very much under control,” he said. “It’s quite disturbing.”

Cryder added as a physiotherapist, McCordic would have been aware of the potential harm he was causing the dog. “Yet he want ahead and did it anyway.”

Bear in new home 2
Bear, the elderly dog seized by the SPCA, was adopted by another family and lived her last four years in a loving home, according to the SPCA. photo SPCA

After an SPCA vet viewed the video and determined the attack could have resulted in serious injuries to the dog, SPCA officers went to McCordic’s apartment with a search warrant and seized the dog.

The dog was found to be in mild to moderate pain from the attack, and while suffering from a number of unrelated health problems, “her injuries were relatively minor,” said Cryder.

Defence lawyer Avtar Dhinsa said McCordic, a North Shore physiotherapist with a record of volunteering in the community, was under intense stress at the time, because of serious disputes and harassment from his neighbours in the apartment building, which eventually caused him to move.

“He balled up his stresses and anxiety,” said Dhinsa. “He was so stressed he could not think clearly.”

Dhinsa said McCordic “took out his anger on the dog.”

McCordic was handed a $4,000 fine and banned from owning animals for seven years.

Following the sentencing, Eileen Drever of the SPCA called the case “disturbing.”

“This poor animal was clearly in such pain and distress, and was helpless to escape her attacker,” she said.

After the SPCA seized the dog, a new family adopted her, and Bear had a happy life for four years before dying earlier this year at age 15, said Drever.

Drever said the BC SPCA is grateful that Bear had a loving home for her final years.

Dianne Millette, registrar of the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia, said in an email the college is aware of both McCordic’s plea on the animal cruelty charges and the petition calling for his licence to be cancelled.

“The college cannot lawfully revoke a registrant’s license to practice on the basis of a criminal conviction without due process under our own governing legislation. However, we understand the concerns raised, take the matter seriously and are in the process of looking into it,” she wrote.

An answering message at North Shore Orthopaedics and Sports said the clinic was closed for a vacation. A message left by the North Shore News was not returned.

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