R v Paroski, 2022 ONCJ 473

This is a ruling on a Dangerous Offender application that had been brought by the Crown after the accused had been found guilty of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and two breaches of probation. The Crown took the position that Paroski has a pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour that makes him a threat to the safety, physical or mental well-being or lives of others with a high likelihood of harmful recidivism and submits that he should be incarcerated indefinitely.

Paroski exhibited a long history of uncontrollable violent behaviour that had began at the age of 13 and spanned 20 years, as outlined in the application. It includes 35 convictions for violence including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault of peace officers, robbery, forcible confinement, and threatening offences. His longest term of imprisonment had been four years, eight-month sentence due to his continuing to reoffend and receiving consecutive sentences.

He also demonstrates a pattern of intimate partner violence over multiple partners which included choking one former partner until she lost consciousness while she was in hospital recovering from the birth of their child during an argument in 2005. On September 7, 2013, Paroski threw another former partner’s cat off of an 11th floor apartment balcony because he had grown jealous that her phone kept ringing and accused her of cheating on him; when he wanted to have sex one day and she refused, he became irate and began smashing things before throwing her cat from the balcony. He then blocked her from leaving when she tried to run outside after the cat. Paroski pleaded guilty and received the equivalent of 6 months of jail and 18 months’ probation after enhanced credit of 142 days for pre-trial detention.

In his assessment under the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), a checklist to get a score on a construct of psychopathy, one doctor scored him as 33 out of 40 points which falls within the range for a diagnosis of psychopathy (considered to be a score of 30 or higher on the PCL-R). In contrast, the other doctor gave Paroski a score of 26 out of 40, noting that noted that “while this score is elevated and somewhat higher than average scores in federally detained inmates (24/40), Mr. Paroski falls below the margin to make a formal diagnosis of psychopathy” (para. 108).

This same doctor gave a score of 1 under “Callousness/Lack of Empathy” section for Paroski’s throwing of his former partner’s cat from the balcony because he did not believe it was “‘gratuitous violence’ because it was not for personal pleasure” and went on to state that unless there was other evidence that Paroski he engaged in other forms of animal cruelty, he considered it a one-time incident that has never been repeated (para.118). That the killing of the cat was committed in the context of a domestic incident did not alter the doctor’s opinion.

The presiding judge was satisfied that the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Paroski’s pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour: “Slashing the victim across the face in the index offence for no apparent reason and throwing a live animal to its certain death from a balcony are only two examples, hence a pattern, of Mr. Paroski’s gross indifference to the foreseeable harm and suffering caused by him” (para. 228). While the judge also determined that he fit the criteria and will be designated a dangerous offender, it was also concluded that Paroski had showed signs of recent improvement so that that the risk of his future release in the community could “be reduced to an acceptable level with a fixed sentence of an additional 18 months of jail in addition to time served followed by a 10-year long-term supervision order (LTSO)” (para. 272).

The warrant of committal would indicate that the Court strongly recommended Paroski serve his remaining 18-month sentence at the Ontario Correctional Institute, which has more extensive reintegrative programming and would allow more time for the treatment for addictions, trauma, ADHD, and anger that he requires. The LTSO was set at the maximum length and carried strict conditions with it.

One of the LTSO conditions includes the provision that should Paroski enter into an intimate relationship, that partner should be contacted by the authorities and informed of his history and there should be close and unrestricted supervision of any such relationship. In addition, the partner should be advised to contact police immediately if there is any reason to believe that Paroski is about to act violently or has engaged in any alcohol or drug use.

R v Dauvin, 2022 SKPC

In January 2o22, Travis Mark Dauvin was charged with two animal cruelty offences under the Criminal Code for injuring one then-girlfriend’s Rottweiler puppy and killing a different then-girlfriend’s Maltese named Jake in two separate events occurring months apart in the first half of 2020.

At the time of each incident, the dogs had belonged to the accused’s different girlfriends. In January 2020, Brita was beaten with a broken broom handle during a domestic argument. Jake was found to have had suffered multiple blunt force traumas, a punctured lung from one of four broken ribs and bruising around his neck in a necropsy examination. The incident that led to Jake’s death occurred in May 2020 after tension had been building between the dog and the accused, who claimed that Jake had bitten him earlier and that the dog had fallen down the stairs when his then-girlfriend questioned him about Jake’s injuries.

After several pretrial conferences, the initial single information was split into two separate informations: one for the abuse of Brita and the other for the abuse resulting in Jake’s death.

The accused was found guilty on the first information under section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code at trial, with a date for sentencing to be set on August 22nd. The sentencing hearing was delayed until October as he sought new defence counsel.

The trial was set for August 15th for the second information regarding Jake’s death, however the accused pleaded guilty to killing the dog wilfully and without lawful excuse. In an agreed statement of facts, it was revealed that Jake was thrown into a metal clothing rack after biting the accused when he attempted to pick the dog up.

Dauvin was sentenced for killing Jake on September 23rd with a six-month community sentence with conditions that include anger management and personal counselling as directed by his supervisor, 120 hours of community service, and a curfew of 10PM to 6AM, followed by one year of probation. The judge also instituted a prohibition order against the sole possession or control of any animal for three years, with such wording chosen to allow him to live with his current partner’s support dog but not be alone with the animal. He was also ordered to pay Jake’s guardian $2680 in restitution.

On October 14th, Dauvin was fined $2,000 for beating Brita. The Crown prosecutor stated that it would be redundant to seek additional probation conditions in Brita’s case because the judge in case had already imposed conditions to address Dauvin’s anger management issues.

Although there have been no written decisions in either of these cases, the linked articles from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix made record of some excellent language used by the judges in their sentencing decisions.

Judge Donna Scott called Dauvin’s response “an excessive overreaction” during sentencing and noted that Jake, the 11-pound Maltese, did not pose a threat and non-violent responses were available. Judge Scott also stated that “the protection of animals is viewed as a barometer of a person’s treatment of people”.

When Dauvin testified that he was upset that Brita had destroyed multiple items and left feces and urine in the garage, that he lied about hitting her with the broom handle because wanted to get his then-girlfriend’s attention, and that he wasn’t getting any help and was getting frustrated, Judge Doug Agnew declared in his decision that the accused’s explanation was “ridiculous” and questioned why the broom handle was in his hand if he wasn’t using it. Judge Agnew also found that while he was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the assault on Brita happened in the way it was described by Dauvin’s former girlfriend, the accused “convicts himself through his evidence”.

We are grateful for the additional information provided by Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan in these matters.






R v McQuitty, 2022 ABKB

This case refers to sentencing on a guilty plea of one count of causing unnecessary, pain, suffering or injury to an animal. Hinata, a 4-month-old kitten, was thrown against a wall by the accused for defecating on his bed. The accused contacted his ex-girlfriend to say that he had ‘freaked out’ and threw the kitten. Hinata was taken to an animal hospital by the ex-girlfriend’s cousin, but she had died as a result of the trauma.

The accused made a partial confession to the police and was initially charged with seven offences that included multiple animal cruelty charges and uttering threats.

A psychological assessment revealed that the accused had been badly abused as a youth and had been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. It was noted that he has had a history of violence towards both people and animals since childhood. This included an admission that he had killed a cat in his youth and abused animals by hitting and kicking them into his adulthood.

Despite the misplacement of two civilian witness statements – according to the agreed facts, Edmonton police lost recordings of the statements given by the accused’s ex-girlfriend and her cousin whom he had contacted immediately after the incident – the sentence obtained was one year imprisonment, 18 months of probation, a DNA order and a prohibition against owning any animals for 15 years.

As with so many animal abuse cases, the decision is unreported and there is no transcript available. This information was received directly from the Crown Prosecutor involved. In addition, an article published in the Edmonton Journal on October 21st contains details of the sentencing hearing.

R v Reid, 2022 ABPC 148

The accused is charged with the following regarding the failure to properly care for his dog, Seiko:

Count 1: Between February 13, 2019, and July 5, 2020, at or near Calgary, Alberta, while being the owner of an animal or bird, specifically a dog named Seiko, the accused committed an offence in violation of Section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada by allowing the said animal or bird to suffer needless pain, suffering, or injury.

Count 2: Between February 13, 2019, and July 5, 2020, the accused, while being the owner of, or the person in charge of, a domestic animal, bird, or wild animal or bird that is kept in captivity: A dog that was willfully neglected or failed to provide it with suitable and adequate food, water, shelter, and care in violation of Section 446(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.

Count 3: Between February 13, 2019, and July 5, 2020, the accused did unlawfully cause or permit an animal of which the person is the owner or person in charge to be or remain in distress, committing an offence in violation of Section 2(1) of the provincial Animal Protection Act.

Seiko suffered from severe malnutrition and chronic skin infection as a result of her lack of proper treatment. She was apprehended by the Humane Society in July 2020, very close to death, and was euthanized in that same month.

After determining that the accused had disregarded veterinary advice, failed to take Seiko for care when he knew that he should have, and seemed more concerned with losing possession of the dog rather than ensuring proper care in a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustified risk as outlined in R v Picco, he was found guilty of all three charges.

R v Vieira 2006 BCPC 676

The accused, John Vieira, is found guilty of an offence under s. 446 of the Criminal Code. The Crown’s submission at sentencing was that a jail sentence was appropriate in this case. The Crown also seeks a separate restitution order to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as an order under section 446(5) prohibiting the accused from owning any animals for two years. 

The Defense’s position is that jail is not necessary and that some sentence other than jail would be appropriate; however, if the court is convinced that jail is necessary, a conditional sentence order is appropriate. The Defence defers to the court the issue of restitution and the order under Section 446(5).

R v Vieira, 2006 BCPC 675

In Information 75337, the accused John Vieira is charged with wilfully neglecting or failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter, and care for horses, dogs, pigs, and rabbits between March 23rd and March 26th, 2004, at or near Little Fort, British Columbia, in violation of Section 446(2) of the Criminal Code. The accused entered a not guilty plea and testified that he was away from his farm for about two weeks in March and left his animals in the care of a neighbour. The accused denies that he knowingly neglected or failed to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter, and care for his animals. He claims that he left enough food for the animals and expected his neighbour to feed them. 

The Crown and Defense Counsel were extremely helpful in providing Admissions of Fact to the court. The accused admits in this document, Exhibit 1, to be the beneficial owner and occupant of the farm property in Little Fort in March 2004. Mr. Vieira admits to being in charge of the farm’s animals during that time period. Mr. Vieira also admits Dr. Colin Mikkelsen’s, a doctor of veterinary medicine, and Dr. Terry McKay’s, a doctor of veterinary medicine, opinion evidence that the animals examined by the two veterinarians were in very poor physical condition. Dr. Mikkelsen and Kent Kokaska, an animal protection officer with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, testified in court. The court also heard from John Vieira and saw a videotape and several photographs depicting the farm and the animals in question.

Dr. Mikkelsen visited the farm on March 26th, 2004, accompanied by SPCA officers. He observed and then examined nine of the ten dogs on the property. The tenth dog was later apprehended while running free on the farm. He refers to a body condition score (BCS) that he assigned to each animal after an examination in his report. This rating, which ranges from one to nine, with zero indicating complete emaciation and nine indicating obesity, describes the physical condition of the animal, including fat covering and muscling. Only one of the nine dogs he examined was normal, according to him. He gave that dog a BCS of four out of a possible nine. The remaining dogs were thin to very thin. In addition, Dr. Mikkelsen examined five horses. One black mare received a BCS of four out of nine, while the rest of the horses received one out of nine or two out of nine. He described these horses as a draught horse breed weighing between 1100 and 1200 pounds with a BCS of five out of nine. When he examined the animals, he discovered that they weighed around 800 pounds and were between 300 and 400 pounds underweight.

The court is satisfied that the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused wilfully neglected his animals between March 23rd and March 26th, 2004. On Count 1, they found the accused guilty.

R v Seddon 2005 BCPC

Robyn Seddon has entered a guilty plea to Count 2, which is the charge under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, specifically Section 24(1), and she acknowledges that on or about March 18, 2004, at or near Quesnel, in the Province of British Columbia, as a person responsible for an animal or animals, namely 56 small breed dogs and 6 chickens, she caused or permitted the animal to be or continue to be in distress. 

Two order forms had previously been issued for the specific care of animals under her care. The Crown claims that she did not allow the SPCA to follow up on those orders by inspecting or checking in on the animals, which is a violation of Section 15 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation in this province. As a result, the 56 dogs and 6 chickens were imprisoned under Section 11 of the Act.

Two large breed dogs had skin inflammation, which was thought to be caused by cold, wet, and unsanitary conditions. The smaller dogs, which were kept in an outbuilding, were described as being kept in overcrowded pens with poor sanitation. It was claimed that there was no bedding available for the larger dogs, and the ground beneath the shelter was wet and cold. There were no bedding or roosting areas for some of the chickens. The Crown claims or claims that the floors and shelves where the chickens were kept were contaminated with urine and feces. There was no bedding or water in the nesting areas. Two chickens were found in outbuilding number one, and four chickens were found in a different location in that building. Because all of the birds were in distress, they were taken into custody and properly cared for.

R. v D.C.M. 2015 ONCJ 672

Sentencing of the accused, DWM and DCM, on charges of possessing, making available, and making child pornography, arranging for the acquisition of a young female child, sexual assault and interference, attempted bestiality, possession of prohibited weapons, possession of drugs, and breaching court orders. The defendants were husband and wife. They had been married for twenty years. They became involved in child pornography in 2013. A police investigation linked child pornography to their computer and the computer of a neighbour to which they had access. DWM’s cell phone was discovered to have 107 pornographic images of his two-year-old niece. 

The defendants were arrested and remanded in custody. They were told not to contact their own children, but on two occasions before hiring counsel, each of them called home and attempted to speak with one of the kids. The accused entered a guilty plea. They were first-time offenders who had raised their children without state intervention, were gainfully employed, and posed no threat to the community prior to the commission of the offences. Mr. D.W.M.’s cell phone was discovered to contain 107 images of his two-year-old niece in various pornographic situations. Mrs. D.C.M.’s cell phone was examined, and numerous sexually explicit text messages between her and her husband were discovered. The texts describe events as well as fantasies involving their son B. and two female karate students of Mr. D.W.M., whom they plan to groom for sexual pleasure. There are texts in which they discuss bringing a “little one” home. There are also references to the two-year-old victim, such as a plan to reunite the family dog, Boost, and the child. There is mention of sexually abusing the dog, and four videos have been found showing Mrs. D.C.M. attempting to have sex with the dog.

The balance of the total sentence to be served is 63 months or 5 years and 3 months.

R v J.S. 2004 NLPC

J.S. is accused of causing unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to a bird in violation of section 446(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1985. He is considered a “young person” under the Young Offenders Act, R.S.C. 1985, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, S.C. 2002. 

Ms. K. testified that on December 29th, 2002, she and her father were watching the water for seals. She was doing so with a pair of binoculars. Ms. K. testified that she saw J.S. and her cousin (J.B.) on the beach shooting a pellet gun at a crow. The crow collapsed to the ground. J.S. or J.B., she testified, tied a string to the crow and dragged it back to J.S.’s yard. Ms. K. testified that she saw J.S. and J.B. throw the crow into the air so that J.S.’s dog would jump toward it. According to Ms. K., the crow was caught by the dog, and the boys took it from the dog and threw it back into the air. Ms. K. testified that the crow was alive and that she could tell it was in pain by the sounds it made. She described the crow as “bawling” and said the sound it was making was different from what a crow normally makes. She described it as “horrible.”

The Crown only needs to prove the existence of pain, suffering, or injury for a conviction to be entered under subsection 446(1)(a) of the Code. As a result, the Court must exercise caution not to interpret these distinct words in a way that fails to distinguish them. To define injury as meaning to suffer, for example, would unnecessarily limit the scope of this provision. An animal can certainly experience pain without being injured.

The judge determined that the Crown failed to establish beyond a reasonable.

R v Giesbrecht, 2010 MBPC

Geoffrey Giesbrecht pleaded guilty to violating the Health of Animals regulation, which was enacted in accordance with paragraph 64 (1) I of the Health of Animals Act.

The following is the charge levelled against him:

In violation of Section 138(4) of the Health of Animals Regulations, did, on or about November 7, 2007, at or near the town of Emerson in the province of Manitoba, continue to transport 14 draught horses that were compromised and non-ambulatory beyond the closest suitable place where it could receive proper care and attention. Consequently committing a crime in violation of the Health of Animals Act’s paragraph 65(1)(a).

It is vital to briefly recount what transpired to the load of 22 horses on November 7, 2007, as uncomfortable as the facts are. The man in charge of driving the truck that brought the horses from the United States to Pincher Creek, Alberta, was Mr. Giesbrecht. The horses were loaded in the United States around 5:00 p.m. on November 6, and by the time they crossed the Canadian border near Emerson, Manitoba, on November 7, 2007, around 8:00 a.m., 14 of the horses were downed, meaning they were unable to stand up. Some of the downed horses were already dead, while others had sustained injuries while travelling inside the trailer.

The accused was sentenced to 30 days in jail intermittently.