'I am a very good dog parent,' says man on trial accused of killing 2 pets

·2 min read
John Geick is accused of fatally beating Sophie the basset hound and Tyler the Chihuahua in February 2019.  (Facebook, Jo Smith  - image credit)
John Geick is accused of fatally beating Sophie the basset hound and Tyler the Chihuahua in February 2019. (Facebook, Jo Smith - image credit)

The man accused of fatally beating two dogs says he confessed to abusing the animals only because he believed it would keep his family together.

John Geick, 39, is on trial on three counts of animal abuse. On Wednesday, he testified in his own defence.

In February 2019, Geick lived with his son and then-girlfriend, Joanna Smith, who owned a basset hound named Sophie and a Chihuahua named Tyler.

Over a three-day span, both dogs died of what a forensic veterinarian would eventually determine was multiple blunt force trauma.

"I am a very good dog parent," Geick said at the beginning of his testimony.

'Major trauma' suffered by dogs

In her testimony Tuesday, Smith testified that after the second dog died, she confronted Geick, asking him if he had hurt the dogs. Smith testified that Geick nodded and cried when she asked if he'd kicked the animals.

After her second dog died suddenly, Smith had become suspicious and had asked the veterinary hospital to get the Calgary Humane Society involved in an investigation.

Later, in an interview with police, Geick said he had thrown Sophie outside, across the patio and into the wall of the garage. He also said he kicked Tyler once because the dog had bitten him in the garage.

Geick said that just before he was questioned by police, Smith and her mother told him he needed to tell investigators he was responsible for the deaths.

He said he believed if he took responsibility, he could save his family. Geick also testified that he felt like the police officers were his friends and "wanted to say what they wanted to hear."

And although the descriptions do not match the "major trauma," the Crown's theory is that Geick minimized the beating he delivered to Tyler and Sophie.

'I would never hurt Tyler'

On Feb. 15, Geick woke Smith up to say Sophie wasn't well. When she got to the dog's side, Sophie was dead.

Geick told defence lawyer Efrayim Moldofsky he performed CPR on Sophie when he found the dog unresponsive, cold and not breathing.

The veterinarian who performed the necropsy found injuries to Sophie's lips, mouth, eye, legs, stomach, head, chest and ears and said the dog wouldn't have lived more than 60 minutes after being abused.

The basset hound's liver had been "pulverized" and she bled into her abdomen.

The dog, said the vet, would have been in "immense pain."

Two days later, Smith woke up to find Tyler shaking and unable to stand. She and Geick brought him to the vet, who ultimately euthanized the dog because of catastrophic injuries to his belly, inside his mouth, ears and lungs.

Blood had also pooled in the dog's eyes, indicating he had been choked.

"I would never hurt Tyler," said Geick. "I loved that dog, he was my best friend."

Prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood will cross-examine.