Desmond Hague is the CEO of Centerplate, the catering company that handles many of the concessions at both AT&T Park and Levi's Stadium. He's also, as this not-safe-for-animal-lovers video shows, a dog abuser. Captured by an elevator surveillance camera in Vancouver in July, the video shows Hague repeatedly kicking a small dog and yanking its leash, including dragging it off the floor by its leash at one point. Needless to say, a lot of sports fans and animal lovers who buy their concessions from Hague's company are pissed.
While many of the more than 300 sports and entertainment venues that use Centerplate as a caterer have made statements condemning animal abuse, none of them have gone so far as to drop the company. "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," said the 49ers in a statement. For their part, Centerplate is disciplining, but not firing, Hague, requiring him to donate $100,000 to an animal foundation and do 1,000 hours of community service.
Here's Hague's statement on the controversy:
"I take full responsibility for my actions. This incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed. Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend's pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response. Unfortunately, I acted inappropriately, and I am deeply sorry for that and am very grateful that no harm was caused to the animal."
However, the outlet that broke the story says that there's evidence that the dog in question, a year-old Doberman named Sade, was registered under Hague's name. A spokeswoman for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the group has submitted the video for potential criminal prosecution for animal cruelty. The Vancouver Sun adds that two SPCA officers visited Hague's apartment and found the dog in a cage in her own urine, out of reach of food and water. They also believe the dog's behavior shows evidence of previous abuse. Sade has been reclaimed by the SPCA and is now under their care.
In terms of SF's role in this controversy, there have already been calls to boycott the Levi's Stadium concessions until Hague is fired, notes Niners Nation. Centerplate has already been at the center of controversy at AT&T Park, where workers went on strike last year alleging that they were being paid less than minimum wage and denied tip jars. If you'd rather not support Centerplate, bringing your own food is completely legal at both stadiums.
· Dog-kicking video taints food vendor [UT San Diego]
· Suspect in Vancouver dog abuse case: 'I am ashamed' [Vancouver Sun]
· 49ers Issue Statement on Desmond Hague [Niners Nation]