Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Halifax man says accused puppy mill owner traded him a sick chihuahua

'She said the dog was fine'
Halifax man says accused puppy mill owner traded him a sick chihuahua

By AMY SMITH Provincial Reporter
Wed. Jan 14 - 5:39 AM

David Tidswell says he didn’t see the warning signs when he arranged to pick up his new chihuahua at a Valley gas station earlier this month.

Ten days later, the dog, which he named Keelie, was dead.

Now the Halifax man wants to warn people about the woman he says traded him the dog for a desktop computer.

Mr. Tidswell, 21, said it was after he brought the dog home that he learned the woman he got the animal from is facing four animal cruelty charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and four under the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act.

The Nova Scotia SPCA laid charges last week against Gail Ruth Benoit, 39, and her husband Dana Bailey, 46, of Roxville, Digby County, who sold four dogs that died hours after their new owners received them last summer.

The couple is due in Digby provincial court on Jan. 29 on other charges stemming from an SPCA seizure of several seriously ill puppies that were for sale.

Mr. Tidswell said he found an ad on the classified website, offering a purebred chihuahua for $300. He said he was selling his computer at the same time and asked the dog seller if she was willing to make a trade.

When she agreed, he said they arranged to meet at an Esso gas station parking lot in Bridgetown on Jan. 3 at about 10 p.m.

Mr. Tidswell said in an interview Tuesday evening that he should have been more wary.

"The signs weren’t clicking in," he said. "I was in excitement mode. I was getting a dog."

Once he got the dog home, Mr. Tidswell said he did some research on the Internet. It was then, he said, that he realized he had bought the dog from Ms. Benoit.

He said he called and asked her if the dog was healthy.

"She said the dog was fine," he said. "It was probably nervous and whatnot. And the dog had just had a litter of puppies, apparently."

But two or three days later, Mr. Tidswell said, Keelie started getting sick. He said the dog became lethargic, her eyes were bloodshot and had mucus in them, and her breathing was rough. Soon, the dog was vomiting and had diarrhea and dark urine, he said.

Mr. Tidswell, who said he works from home but did not want to say what he does for a living, said he didn’t take the dog to the vet because he was waiting for his paycheque to come in.

He said that on Monday night, he gave her a bath, wrapped her in a blanket and set her on the couch. When he returned, Mr. Tidswell said, the dog was dead.

Mr. Tidswell said he called the SPCA to lay a complaint against Ms. Benoit but was told the agency couldn’t do anything because he had already disposed of the dog’s body. He said he also called Ms. Benoit on Tuesday morning.

When reached by phone Tuesday evening, Mr. Bailey refused to comment on the allegations. However, he told CTV News there was nothing wrong with the dog.

"The dog was eating good here. The dog just had pups," Mr. Bailey said.

"I told him to send more confirmation of the dog dying and he can have his computer back," Mr. Bailey said.

Comments to this post are now closed.


  1. Anonymous4:00 PM

    mr. tidswell is just as much to blame. he also threw his dog in the garbage--wth??? jm

  2. I have to say Janice that when I was taping the news piece to upload it to You Tube and the man said that he'd dumped the little dog in the garbage - I audibly gasped! Who would throw a companion that you were in love with in the garbage? Your beloved dog has just died, you're crying your eyes out, you pick him up lovingly in your arms, you walk out to the kitchen, and you open up your garbage can and toss him in there? And then you tidy up the kitchen a bit - the garbage can's full - and you take the garbage out and walk down to the garbage chute - and down the chute the dog, egg shells, cigarette butts, and bread bags go. I was amazed. It put a new spin on the story for me, unfortunately. It showed me that this unfortunate fellow has a naive understanding of pet ownership on more than one level.


  3. people make me sick!

  4. Hi Joan,
    I was almost hoping that you hadn't of posted my last comment. I actually feel empathy for the young man who decided to get a dog. I guess his intentions were good. And, I guess, he probably didn't have a lot of options, as to what to do with his dead puppy..??? He probably feels pretty bad about the whole thing and it was a tough lession to for him to learn.

  5. Anonymous11:43 PM

    are you guys crazy? This is mr tidswell.. your making it seem so dramatic.. i personally didnt put KEELIE in the garbage. The ground was covered in snow so she was unable to be burried. unless you anted me to get a back hoe and put her in the payment?!?!?!?! LIKE SERIOUSLY PPL> I DIDN'T DO THIS FOR PPL TO RIGHT RUDE THINGS ABOUT I DID THIS TO HELP THE CAUSE!!! YOUR ALL FUCKING SICK IN THE HEAD. AND I CANT BELIEVE MY STORY WOULD MAKE SOMEONE OR ANYONE FOR THAT MATTER WRITE THE THINGS YOU GUYS HAVE.

  6. Anonymous11:46 PM

    you guys have no idea what it was like to have to go through this. it was one of the most horrible situations i have every been involved in! im sorry for the f bomb and everything but seriously! i really didnt have many options and i couldnt bare to look at her body anymore. i wasnt even able to take her out myself. i had a friend of mine do it. she was wrapped up in her favorite blanket and with her toy. im sorry if i have offended any of you but lighten up on me. i have been though a lot and like i said eariler. i did all of this to make a point and to make it known.

  7. Mr. Tidwell, since maybe I have your ear for a moment - I haven't buried any of my companion animals that have died - I have taken them to my veterinarian, who has a contract with a local company who actually cremates them, and a short time after I have the body of my animal at my veterinarian - who has treated the remains of my companion animal in a respectful way - I get a call from them to come and pick up the ashes of my animal. I have a shelf in my living room where I am keeping all the ashes from the various animal companions that I've had in my life - because when I die, I want to have all their ashes mixed with mine - because I want them to be with me for all eternity - their lives have meant that much to me. I dont think anyone meant to much disrepect to you personally - it was to the act you did to the little animal that you had professed to love and take care of for her whole life. As I said in my comment - it was probably just because it did not occur to you to do otherwise - perhaps now you will understand that this little dog deserved a little bit better of an ending - she at least deserved to have her body be taken by the NS SPCA so that they could do an autopsy on her so her life wouldn't have been in complete vain.


  8. Anonymous2:34 AM

    Joan, let's focus a bit here.
    The villains are the people who sold him the puppy, and the people allowing them to keep selling dogs despite a long track record of sadness.
    Why doesn't the SPCA inspect the Benoit "puppy mill" and test it for parvo - then finally SHUT IT DOWN??? Why doesn't it seize the dogs they use to produce these puppies? They have been treated cruelly without doubt. They shouldn't have to wait ages until the charges are prosecuted!! They'll die.
    Or at least, the SPCA should order the place to be sprayed or whatever it takes to get rid of the viruses.
    Mr. Tidswell has every expectation that the SPCA, as a provincially appointed law enforcer, take such actions, and it should have, long before he came along. As a citizen, he has been let down, as have so many others. His right to consumer protection may have been denied here.
    He is not the one to be blamed or judged: at fault in addition to the Benoits are those who failed to protect him and his dog and it's time to focus on that.

  9. Anonymous9:44 AM

    regardless, Mr. Tidswell traded a COMPUTER for his dog. how was he going to afford the health care and food for Keelie. well, i suppose a Chihuahua doesn't eat much, but the dog was obviously sick and wasn't given the proper care. dog ownership should be a privelege. It should be somewhat difficult to obtain a dog so that they don't fall into these situations. yes, gail benoit is the problem, but so are the people who support puppy mills-- even when they have a bad feeling about it but are too excited to listen to reason because they are so excited about getting a dog. it was great that Mr. Tidswell told his story, but his language is some what telling of his character. just listen to Gail when she starts spouting off. when i approach backyard breeders on kiji i always now what kind of people i am dealing with and what kind of shady operation they are trying to cover when they start throwing out the F-tickets.
    Please Mr Tidswell, realize we are most certainly NOT SICK IN THE HEAD--our standards of dog rights are simply different from yours. it is not acceptable for us that people can "just get dogs" anymore.

  10. Anonymous11:11 AM

    What a world we live in. No one has to take any responsibility for anything. It's someone elses fault.Good Luck with that!RG.

  11. Did David Tidswell make an error in judgement? Yes. Was he unprepared to take on a pup financially? Yes.
    Did he uncaringly throw it's body in the garbage? No.
    Unable to bury his pup in the frozen ground and upset seeing it's lifeless body, friends removed it from David's home. They were the ones who finally disposed of it. Though it was not the fitting place for anyone's animal, I believe it was done in the heat of the moment and to spare him some of his grief.

    Like so many others, David fits into the category of people Gail and Dana have taken advantage of. But unlike many, David did speak out. Unfortunately the media did not enlighten people to all the details. David has tried to clarify much of this with his post on Keelie to the Face Book group Stopping Puppy Mills and People Like Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey.

    Since becoming public about his experience, he has received a barrage of vicious hate mail which made him question his speaking out. To quote from his post - "I DID THIS TO MAKE PEOPLE REALIZE THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO BUY ANY ANIMAL! KNOW WHO YOUR BUYING FROM! GET INFORMATION! ASK QUESTIONS!!!!! AND NEVER EVER EVER!!! BUY FROM THE BACK SEAT OF A CAR!","I LOVED MY BABY GIRL VERY MUCH AND DID WHAT I COULD FOR HER. AND I REALLY WANTED EVERYONE TO KNOW THIS."

    Yes, he made mistakes and poor decisions. How many of us can say we never have. Yes, he wasn't capable of financially handling the burden of a medical emergency, but I'm sure many of us have been in the same boat at sometime or another. I know I have. But then, I as luckier than David.

    Having followed the media coverage on David and Keelie, then reading his post in the wee hours of this morning I couldn't help but hear my late mother's voice in my head..............

    "Let he who is without fault cast the first stone"

    "Judge not, lest you be judged"

    "Walk a mile in my shoes"

    Old? Yes. Relevant? I still think so.

  12. Anonymous12:37 PM

    Sure Rottnmom
    But swearing and yelling at us does not work well in his favor. If he is going to come public with a story like that he has to accept some scrutiny. He should have remained humble, instead he came across as a Valley red neck. Tidswell should consider how he comes across the next time he "rights" on blogs. I do appreciate that he came forward with this story to warn other people though. In this day in age with animal rights finally getting some attention, it is hard to accept that people can still be in the dark and so irresponsible.

    Valley girl

  13. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Mr. Tidswell,

    We are making it so dramatic because your beloved pet is now dead.

  14. Anonymous4:38 PM

    I just read that he is now getting a new dog tonight, once again it is being delivered according to the people in touch with him.

    Obviously there was no lesson learned.......he is now once again having a dog delivered and bringing it into a risky spot where the dog could get sick.

    This guy is not listening to the educated people who are telling him not get another one just yet.

    When will these people stop?

  15. Kathy Dunwell6:09 PM

    The David Tidswell guy was nasty to a few people on the facebook group and according the wall he is no longer a member. Wonder why??? HA !

  16. I think it's because he thinks that everything about the story is attacking him personally and the only reason he came forward was so that word would get out about Gail and Dana and it rather seeme to have back fired on him and he's very unhappy about it. He feels he's been revictimized all over again and he's especially unhappy with me and my blog, but what can you do.


  17. Your Friend Always8:09 PM

    Joan - your blog speaks the truth, everytime.... if you want a true, honest story you come to this blog.