Former vet tried for sex crimes

A former Langley veterinarian on trial for sexual offences involving women who brought pets to his clinic

  • Mar. 16, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Jennifer Saltman

Special to the Langley Advance

Two women testified in court on Tuesday that a former Langley veterinarian exposed himself and made unwelcome advances toward them when they brought pets to the clinic where he was working.

Wayne Etherington is charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of committing an indecent act in connection with events that took place in December 2012 and January 2013, while he was working at the Clayton Animal Hospital.

His trial began in provincial court in Surrey on Tuesday with testimony from two of the three complainants, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

The first incident took place on Dec. 7, 2012, and involved a woman who had helped a friend out by driving her and her dog to the vet.

The woman, who is 65 years old, testified that the dog was recovering from surgery and was agitated, so it stayed in her van in the parking lot during the appointment.

Etherington came out to see the dog twice. The woman said that at the end of the second interaction she asked a question about the dog and Etherington “lifted up his coat and I could see his exposed penis.” He said the dog would be fine and went back into the clinic.

The woman said she was shocked by what happened. Her friend did not witness the alleged exposure.

On Dec. 31, 2012, another woman took her dog to the vet to have a bite on its ear checked out.

“Dr. Etherington used that opportunity to hug her in a very personal fashion, pelvic to pelvic, and he had a partial erection she could feel through the clothing,” Crown prosecutor Janet Dickie said during her opening statement.

The second complainant is expected to testify next week.

The final incident took place on Jan. 26, 2013. A woman, now 52 years old, brought in her dog because it had flu-like symptoms and Etherington treated the dog with intravenous fluids. She arranged to pick up her dog later that evening, rather than leave it overnight. Etherington touched her leg and hand during the dog’s examination.

When she returned, the woman said Etherington initiated some personal conversation that made her feel uneasy, so she changed the subject repeatedly. At the end of the appointment Etherington allegedly hugged her and then kissed her on the cheek.

The woman said she left as quickly as possible.

“I was by this time really uncomfortable and feeling scared,” she said.

As she put her dog in her truck, the woman said Etherington came out and apologized, saying he was tired and lonely, and must have misread her cues.

“I said, ‘Yeah, you really did,’” the woman said.

The woman said she told her daughters, son and husband about the incident right away, but didn’t report it immediately because she didn’t know if what had happened was a crime.

“The allegations are not… highly intrusive, but these were contacts that interfered with the sexual integrity of two complainants on the sexual assault and they were assaults because they were without consent,” Dickie told the court.

The trial is expected to last about three days.

Etherington is also scheduled to go to trial for one day later this month on a charge of failing to appear in court. Etherington’s trial on the sexual offences was supposed to take place in February 2015; however, he did not show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Etherington is suspended from practising by the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia, which received a number of serious formal complaints about him.

– Jennifer Saltman is a reporter with The Province.


Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

Giants owner Ron Toigo to get BC Sports Hall of Fame W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based hockey team to be honoured at May induction gala

UPDATED: Touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield

A veteran hopes the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words. They do.

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read