Connecticut catering company CEO resigns over dog-kicking incident

Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:51pm EDT

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(Reuters) - The chief executive officer of a Connecticut-based catering company has resigned amid a barrage of criticism and possible charges after he was caught on video abusing a dog, the company said on Tuesday.

Catering company Centerplate's board of directors said in a statement it had parted ways with Desmond Hague "as a result of Hague's personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care."

Video surveillance from a Vancouver hotel obtained by Canada's Global News showed Hague kicking a dog and yanking the animal as it stood on a leash inside an elevator. The dog, a female doberman puppy, belonged to a friend of Hague's, the company said.

"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," said Joe O’Donnell, chairman of the board of directors.

Centerplate, which serves large sports and entertainment venues including Seattle's Safeco Field and the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, said last week it had placed Hague on indefinite probation while it investigated.

It also said he would personally donate $100,000 to the Sade Foundation, which was established to protect animals in Vancouver, and serve 1,000 hours of community service to support an animal welfare organization.

The incident prompted an outcry on social media, where an online petition calling for Hague to be fired had garnered some 192,000 signatures. Other critics have called for a boycott of Centerplate concessions.

Hague has released a statement saying he was “ashamed and deeply embarrassed." He still faces potential charges in Vancouver, the company said.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in British Columbia has recommended cruelty charges be filed, and Vancouver police said they were reviewing the case.

(The story corrects location of Levi's Stadium in fifth paragraph)

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)

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