R v Habermehl, 2013 CarswellAlta 570

Accused charged with wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to a cat contrary to s. 445.1(1)(a). Accused denied charges and pled not guilty. Accused lived with girlfriend who was owner of cat. At dissolution of relationship girlfriend left apartment while accused packed belongings. When girlfriend returned she noticed that cat had extreme swelling on side of body and was distressed. Had to surrender cat to SPCA for treatment and cat had to be euthanized. Upon necropsy, Dr determined that cause of injury was blunt for trauma. Court ruled that accused had exclusive opportunity to cause injuries to cat and that the injuring was wilful, intentional and reckless. Court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that accused caused injuries to cat which caused unnecessary pain and suffering. Guilty as charged.

R v Labonte, 2014 ABPC 153 (CanLII)

Accused was a 19-year-old employee of a dog daycare. He brutally beat a 5-month-old boxer until he vomited blood. The dog had no lasting or permanent injuries.

R v Gerling, 2013 BCSC 2503 (CanLII)

Gerling operated a chihuahua kennel. The dogs under his care were poorly groomed, inadequately cared for, and required serious eye and dental treatment.

R v Marohn, 2012 BCPC 198 & 199

In December 2008 a police officer responded to a report of a vehicle in a ditch. Dr. Marohn was at the scene with a horse, which he was using to attempt to pull the car from the ditch. The horse had collapsed and could not be raised to its feet. A veterinarian had to euthanize the horse. Necropsy revealed the horse was emaciated due to lack of food.

Dr. Marohn had financial problems due to an injury which made him incapable to work. He still collected horses on his property, despite knowing the financial burden.

Trial judge does not accept the accused’s evidence of the event, and states that he is “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was using Buddy [the horse] to attempt to free the vehicle from the ditch,” despite knowing the horse was emaciated.

Although being in financial trouble, Dr. Marohn declined an offer from the SPCA to take four of his horses. He made some efforts to find alternative locations for the horses, which were not commensurate with the seriousness of the situation. The judge states, “it is clear that the accused’s heart and good intentions interfered with his good judgment… It interfered with him using due diligence in finding alternative solutions.”

The Crown has proven the elements as required in s. 24(1). With respect to s.446(1)(b), the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a marked departure from the reasonable care in these circumstances.

Dr. Marohn was found guilty of both counts.


A large degree of the accused’s poor judgement in dealing with the issues related to the horse are related to his medical issues. He is unable to work, which put his family in dire financial distress. Dr. Marohn (a veterinarian) lost his practice and had to rely on friends for the housing of his daughters. According to the judge, “it is clear that if he had the financial means he would have properly cared for his horse,” and “the accused expressed genuine remorse” for his actions.

Denunciation and deterrence has already occurred by virtue of the public arrest, the conviction, the accused’s pre-trial release, conditions on release, and the extensive media coverage.

Dr. Marohn was sentenced to 24 months probation for each count, to run concurrently, as well as a 3 year prohibition order.

R v Tremblay, 2012 BCPC 410

Defendant hit the dog, “King”, with his open hand and with a dish as well as striking the dog , including blows with the hammer to its head and body. Mr. Tremblay sprayed a substance into the dog’s face and appeared to rub the substance into the dog’s eyes. The judgment seems to suggest if Crown had proceeded by way of indictment, might have imposed a longer jail term although not criticizing Crown’s decision to proceed by summary conviction. Might have been longer than 6 months except 1) Crown asked for 6 months; 2) Comparison to similar cases (Connors and Munroe)

R. v. McConkey, 2008 ABPC 37

McConkey’s dogs were severely matted, had irritated skin and dental problems, as well as other health issues. She failed to arrange proper treatment for their afflictions.

R. v. Carter, 2006 ABPC 341

Carter’s farm was variously described as a ‘disaster’ and a ‘hazard zone.’ Her animals were severely neglected. There was debris, junk, and faeces scattered all across her barn. There were corpses of a dog, a chicken, and four rabbits. Some of the stalls contained faeces up to a metre high. Her foals were caked in faeces, flakes, and scales. One of them had died and was left to rot in a tiny stall. Her horses were deprived of adequate food, shelter, and water.

R v Irving, 2013 SKPC 101

Puppy mill: 57 dogs in muddy yard without adequate food, shelter, or care. Failed to meet generally accepted practices for dog kennel. Charged but found not guilty of two counts under the Criminal Code. Found guilty of one count of causing animals to be in distress contrary to the Animal Protection Act.

R v Loerzel, 2007 SKCA 107

The Loerzels operated an elk farm (Trad Industries). After government officials and members of the Saskatchewan SPCA visited the farm, saw starving animals; charges were laid. The Loerzels and Trad were charged with causing or permitting elk to be or to continue to be in distress. They were convicted after a lengthy trial and each fined $3,500. Appeal dismissed. Strict liability offence.

R v Hiebert, 2003 172 Man.R. (2d) 73 57 W.C.B. (2d) 242 (MB Proc. Crt)

A husband and wife owned and operated what appears to be a “puppy mill” operation. Several dogs had died as a result of the treatment and most were living in deplorable conditions + they operated without a license.