CEO resigns after video captures him kicking a dog

Abuse a dog and lose your job.

That’s basically what happened to Desmond Hague, the CEO of sports and entertainment catering giant Centerplate, after he was caught on a Vancouver hotel elevator security camera abusing a dog on a leash. In the video, a man kicks a dog several times, and at one point, lifts the dog up by its leash.

Hague resigned and has been replaced as “a result of Hague’s personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care,” Centerplate said in a statement.

“We want to reiterate that we do not condone nor would we ever overlook the abuse of animals,” Joe O’Donnell, chairman of Centerplate’s board of directors, said in the statement. “Following an extended review of the incident involving Mr. Hague, I’d like to apologize for the distress that this situation has caused to so many.”

The video first surfaced after someone submitted it to the Vancouver SPCA, which prompted an investigation, Global News reported. A subsequent search warrant identified Hague as the abuser in the video, and the victim was a 1-year-old Doberman Pincher. “I take full responsibility for my actions, this incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed,” Hague said, via his legal counsel, in a statement to Global News. “Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response.”

But the apologies weren’t enough to quell outrage, particularly online. A Change.org petition to have Hague fired garnered more than 190,000 signatures. Others targeted the stadiums that held contracts with Centerplate, such as Safeco Field in Seattle.

Just last week, the company announced it wouldn’t fire Hague but he would donate $100,000 to an animal charity and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Elahe Izadi is a general assignment national reporter for The Washington Post.

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Elahe Izadi · September 2, 2014