Centerplate responds after video of CEO kicking dog goes viral

Centerplate released a statement Wednesday in response to community outrage over video of its CEO apparently kicking a dog in an elevator. 

Desmond Hague, the company's CEO, can be seen in surveillance video from last month kicking and pulling his dog in a Vancouver hotel elevator.

The company, which provides catering services for the Indianapolis Zoo and Lucas Oil Stadium, issued this statement:

"Centerplate's Board of Directors recently convened a special meeting following the completion of an internal investigation and review of an incident involving animal cruelty by its CEO Des Hague.

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. We do not condone nor can we overlook the mistreatment of animals and Mr. Hague's personal misconduct.

Thus, upon internal review of the incident, and recognizing that Mr. Hague is truly ashamed of his actions and has expressed sincere remorse and shame for erratic behavior that is uncharacteristic of him we have decided to take the following immediate actions:

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.

As a condition of his continued employment with Centerplate, Mr. Hague will personally donate $100,000.00 USD which will be donated towards the establishment of the Sade Foundation in honor of the dog he mistreated in the elevator to help support the protection and safety of animals in the city of Vancouver where the incident occurred.

Further, we are requiring Mr. Hague to serve 1000 hours of community service in support of an organization that serves to protect the welfare and safety of animals.

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. 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.

Mr. Hague still faces potential charges in Vancouver, where he is personally responsible for charges and fines in relation to the incident."

Community reaction

Dog lovers at Broad Ripple Park consider their four-legged friends children, and the thought of someone doing anything besides loving a dog is unimaginable to them.

"He needs to be held accountable. And he needs to pay for what he did to that dog," said Laurie Seeber, the owner of a 125-pound great dane named Millie.

"It's sad that people do that to dogs," said Morgan Carroll of Indianapolis. "[Dogs] can't do anything about it. The dog was laying there doing absolutely nothing. He did not need to yank it like that."

Hague issued a statement saying his behavior was "completely and utterly out of character" and that he was "ashamed and deeply embarrassed" by what he had done.

Centerplate operates concessions in venues around the world - including Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indiana Convention Center.

The Capitol Improvement Board, which runs the convention center, said they will "remain in contact with Centerplate management on their internal review before evaluating any change to our business relationship."

The Indianapolis Colts, which deals with Centerplate exclusively for concessions, declined to comment saying they didn't have enough information about the incident to say anything.

The Indianapolis Zoo released a statement, saying:

"We are aware of an investigation of an incident involving Centerplate CEO Des Hague in Vancouver. While it would be irresponsible for us to speculate on any case during an investigation, abuse or mistreatment of any animal is clearly and obviously unacceptable. We are deeply disturbed by the allegations and will wait for the results of the investigation."

Centerplate issued a statement later Tuesday:

"We are aware of the incident involving Centerplate CEO Des Hague and the attention surrounding it. The company has now gathered all of the current facts from local authorities and is in the process of conducting an internal review. Centerplate does not condone the mistreatment of animals by any of its employees. Mr. Hague has agreed to attend counseling to address his anger management issues and has publicly expressed he is deeply ashamed and remorseful for his behavior. He has apologized to everyone directly involved as well as to the company's clients and employees, and has pledged a significant, personal, multi-year financial commitment to help support the protection and safety of animals. There will be a public statement as soon as Centerplate completes its review."

Social media backlash ignited quickly with some calling for boycotts of Centerplate.

"I don't say boycott because all the other people had nothing to do with it, the people that work for him," said Seeber. "And if people boycott that company, they're not going to have jobs eventually."