Trial begins for Calgary man accused in fatal beating of 2 dogs

·3 min read
John Geick is on trial on three charges of animal abuse. He's alleged to have killed two dogs, which died of blunt force trauma from several injuries each.
John Geick is on trial on three charges of animal abuse. He's alleged to have killed two dogs, which died of blunt force trauma from several injuries each.

(Facebook/John Geick - image credit)

The first of two dogs beaten to death within three days would have been in "immense pain," according to a veterinarian who testified on Day 1 of an animal abuse trial.

John Geick, 39, is on trial on three charges of animal cruelty.

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

After the couple's two dogs died within a couple of days, Smith called the animal hospital asking them to bring in the Calgary Humane Society to investigate, according to witnesses who testified on Day 1 of the trial.

In an interview with police after his arrest, Geick admitted to physically harming the dogs and using electrical tape to muzzle them but downplayed the degree to which he harmed the animals, according to prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood's opening statement.

The Crown's theory is that Geick "minimized the beating he delivered to these dogs," said Greenwood.

Chihuahua brought to hospital suffering 'major trauma'

On Feb. 17, 2019, Geick and Smith arrived at the emergency vet hospital with their Chihuahua, Tyler.

Dr. Angela Chamberlain works at the Fish Creek Pet Hospital and treated Tyler when he arrived in distress, suffering from traumatic injuries to his belly, inside his mouth, on both ears and lungs.

Blood had also pooled in the dog's eyes, indicating Tyler had been choked. One of the Chihuahua's lungs was collapsed.

"These injuries are consistent when we see cases of major trauma," Chamberlain told the prosecutor.

Ultimately, because of his poor prognosis, Geick and Smith chose to euthanize Tyler within about 90 minutes of arriving at the animal hospital.

Basset hound's liver 'pulverized'

Two days earlier, Smith's basset hound, Sophie, had died. The second death raised her suspicions about what happened with both dogs.

"Something wasn't right," said Greenwood.

Dr. Margaret Doyle, a forensic veterinarian who performed the necropsies on the two dogs, was told that Smith "questioned if her partner had done something to the animals."

"I would suspect it was probably a foot or hands," said Doyle when asked what she believed caused the injuries to the dog.

From the injuries observed on Sophie's lips, mouth, eye, legs, stomach, head, chest and ears, Doyle estimated the dog wouldn't have lived more than 60 minutes after being abused.

Dog would have suffered 'immense pain'

Sophie was struck no fewer than seven times, said Doyle, but the dog's fatal injury was to her liver, which the vet described as "pulverized" and "unrecognizable," causing the animal to bleed into her abdomen.

The dog, said Doyle, would have been in "immense pain" and likely would have been cowering, trying to get away from situation.

Doyle also ruled Tyler's death was similar to Sophie's — multiple blunt force injuries that would have been painful to the small dog.

Defence lawyer Efrayim Moldofsky is representing Geick.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bernette Ho is presiding over the six-day trial.

Geick is also facing a charge connected to reptiles and snakes that were allegedly found in distress.