FEB. 23, 2015 UPDATE: Des Hague pleaded guilty today to one count of animal cruelty.
If you purchase a hot dog at the brand-new Levi’s Stadium after it opens next month in San Francisco — or buy food at hundreds of other venues — you’ll be putting money in the pocket of Centerplate catering company’s CEO Des Hague, who was caught on surveillance camera late last month kicking a Doberman puppy in an elevator.
Hague can be seen repeatedly kicking the puppy’s stomach and then choking her — he yanks up her leash so she’s suspended in the air. The video was taken July 27 at the upscale Private Residences at Hotel Georgia in Vancouver.
When BC SPCA investigators tracked down Hague in one of the condos, they found the puppy, named Sade, in a urine-soaked crate, with food and water bowls beyond her reach. When Sade was removed from the crate, she was skittish and appeared to have been physically abused.
“The dog was removed from the owner,” Mary Moriarty, BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer, told Global News.
But Hague, a friend of the puppy’s owner, is not yet facing any animal cruelty charges, although they have been recommended by the BC SPCA.
Hague also remains the CEO of Centerplate.
“Centerplate does not condone the mistreatment of animals, and since learning about the situation late Friday night, have reached out to local authorities to better understand the facts and circumstances related to the incident,” the company said in a statement. “As this is an ongoing review, we cannot comment further at this time.”
Hague released a contrite statement yesterday through his attorney, claiming the incident was “completely and utterly out of character. I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed … a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response.”
Crisis management expert Steve Paskoff told Fortune what a lot of us are probably thinking: “My immediate reaction to this news was, this is a guy who will kick and drag a friend’s dog — what else is there to say about him? And if he treats defenseless dogs this way, how is he treating people?”
So far, no venues — including Denver’s Mile High Stadium, San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and the Los Angeles Zoo — have cancelled their Centerplate contracts.
“The 49ers organization condemns the abuse of animals and was disturbed to learn of the recent news regarding Des Hague,” it wrote in a statement sent to Fortune. “We believe his actions are not reflective of the efforts and service provided by the hundreds of Centerplate employees working to present our fans with a tremendous experience at Levi’s Stadium.”
In the meantime, stadium guests have started boycotting Centerplate. At BC Palace in Vancouver Sunday, Canadian Football League fans told the media they would not be purchasing any food, and that Hague should be fired immediately.
Hague conveniently deleted his Twitter account, but animal lovers are using the hashtag #DesHague to condemn the puppy-kicking CEO.
You can contact Centerplate via email at email@example.com.
If you’re still planning to buy food from a venue that uses Centerplate (here are all their North American partners), I highly recommend that you watch this surveillance video first.