Puppy-Kicking Centerplate CEO Resigns

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FEB. 23, 2015 UPDATE: Des Hague pleaded guilty today to one count of animal cruelty.

des hague abusing puppyDes Hague, the Centerplate CEO caught on camera kicking a Doberman puppy in an elevator, has resigned from his job.

Last week, Centerplate’s board of directors put Hague on probation, but didn’t fire him — despite growing outrage and boycotts of Centerplate food, which is sold in many major sports venues.

Today Joe O’Donnell, chairman of the board, released a statement saying Hague has quit as head of the multibillion-dollar company.

“We want to reiterate that we do not condone nor would we ever overlook the abuse of animals,” O’Donnell stated. “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; but also thank our employees, clients and guests who expressed their feelings about this incident. Their voices helped us to frame our deliberations during this very unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances.”

Last week, per the board of directors’ request, Hague agreed to donate $100,000 to establish a “Sade Foundation,” named after the puppy he kicked, to protect animals in Vancouver, where the kicking took place. Hague was also asked to complete 1,000 hours of community service for an animal-welfare organization and to attend anger-management sessions.

In the video, taken inside an elevator July 27 at the upscale Private Residences at Hotel Georgia, Hague can be seen repeatedly kicking the puppy’s stomach, and then choking her by yanking up her leash and suspending her in the air.

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.

Hague released a contrite statement Aug. 25 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.”

As news of the case spread, hundreds of people condemned the puppy-kicking CEO on social media using the hashtags #DesHague and #BoycottCenterplate.

Here’s the surveillance video showing Hague as he lost control of his emotional response. The case is still under investigation by the BC SPCA, and Hague may very likely face criminal animal-abuse charges.