Stamford's Centerplate Puts CEO On Short Leash After Dog Cruelty Uproar

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Desmond (Des) Hague CEO of Stamford-based sports venue catering company has been censured and placed on probation by the company after allegedly mistreating a year-old dog in Vancouver, B.C.
Desmond (Des) Hague CEO of Stamford-based sports venue catering company has been censured and placed on probation by the company after allegedly mistreating a year-old dog in Vancouver, B.C. Photo Credit: Multivu

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford resident Desmond Hague has been put on a short leash by his employer.

Hague, chief executive officer of Stamford-based Centerplate, has been placed on indefinite probation by the company's board of directors after he is alleged to have mistreated a 1-year-old dog in Vancouver, B.C. The act was captured on an hotel elevator surveillance video system.

"Mr. Hague will be given a written censure by the board whereby he will be placed on indefinite probation stating that any further acts of misconduct would result in immediate termination," the company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. The board met in recent days to come to the decision.

Hague is at the center of an uproar after video of a man kicking and mistreating a year-old Doberman Pinscher in the elevator of the Hotel Georgia was broadcast on a Vancouver television station last Thursday.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had begun an investigation two days before the broadcast after a citizen had supplied them with the tape. In a rare move, the SPCA received a search warrant and removed the dog from the hotel on Wednesday. In 2013, only 102 search warrants were granted to the SPCA throughout the province of British Columbia to rescue animals, an SPCA spokeswoman told the Daily Voice on Monday.

In order to keep his job with Centerplate, Hague is required to donate $100,000 toward the establishment of the Sade Foundation, named in honor of the dog he is accused of mistreating.

The dog is under SPCA care and is doing well, the SPCA spokeswoman said. The foundation will help support the protection and safety of animals in Vancouver. 

"Centerplate in no way condones the mistreatment of animals, and as a strong sign of our conviction, we the company will also contribute a portion of our sales to the Sade Foundation.," the statement said. "Additionally, we will open this foundation to all Centerplate employees and the general public who want to support and contribute in the hope that meaningful change can come out of this tragic situation."

The board also directed Hague to perform 1,000 hours of community in support of an animal welfare organization.

"We pride ourselves as individuals and as a company on how we treat others—both humans and animals. The company finds Mr. Hague’s personal behavior unacceptable and outside the bounds of our high standards and expectations of all of our staff," the company said in the statement.  "We do not condone nor can we overlook the mistreatment of animals and Mr. Hague’s personal misconduct."

The statement said Hague "is truly ashamed of his actions and has expressed sincere remorse and shame for erratic behavior that is uncharacteristic of him."

Hague still faces the possibility he may face criminal or animal cruelty charges in British Columbia.

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