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).

The Court ultimately determined that a four-month conditional sentence subject to twenty-four-hour house arrest, except to attend or travel to or from work, or with the written permission of your conditional sentence supervisor to attend to the necessaries of life. In addition, a restitution order in the amount of $5000 payable to the BC SPCA and an animal prohibition order from owning or having the custody or control of an animal or a bird over the next two-year period, which the Court recognized may impact his work as a farmhand who worked on a farm at the time. The Court advised against the accused being offside of the custody or control provisions of the order, as otherwise he would be subject to prosecution.

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.

Ms. Seddon was found guilty, but mental health and life conditions factored into the suspended sentence and probation of one year issued by the judge.

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 doubt and the accused was acquitted.

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. 

R. v. Ranger, 2012 ABPC 240

On January 26, 2012, the accused was convicted of 21 counts on a 28-count Information relating to offences committed on February 22, 2010. Convictions for driving offences (including criminal flight), drug offences, property offences, and crimes against the administration of justice. Because Defence counsel had identified an issue involving unreasonable use of force early on, the case was scheduled for a sentencing hearing.

During the sentencing hearing, the accused testified that at the time of the arrest he had ran for about seven to eight minutes in the snow before being apprehended. He testified that he was in an open area, exhausted and with nowhere to go, and that he came to a halt and waited before police dog Quanto was dispatched to detain him. He swung the dog back and forth, attempting various techniques to get the dog to release. In the police officer’s testimony, he stated that he observed the accused with an arm around the dog, and appeared to be choking or trying to hurt PSD Quanto’s jaw or neck.

The accused claimed that he had been drinking that night and confirmed that he was aware that police were pursuing him, but that he couldn’t hear them because of high adrenaline and testosterone levels in his system. He claimed that this had a disinhibiting or blackout effect. This claim was not supported by any medical evidence. The accused had a large amount of a variety of serious drugs, as well as trafficking paraphernalia and large amounts of cash. He also had stolen property and identification documents, some of which had been altered to include the accused’s photograph; even after being apprehended, the accused misidentified himself to avoid criminal liability.

The accused was issued a global sentence of 9 years and 6 months in federal prison. No portion of the sentence was related to any harm to the police dog.

Note: The German Shepherd police dog in this case would become the inspiration for Quanto’s Law, the Justice for Animals in Service Act which came into force in July 2015 after Quanto was killed while on duty on October 7, 2013 and created a new Criminal Code offence that specifically prohibits the killing or wounding of animals that have been trained and are being used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities or the Canadian Armed Forces.

Quanto had been in service for four years, with over 100 arrests to his name.

R. v. W.J.M., 2012 ABPC 301

WJM first appeared in court on May 30, 2012, after waiving one Information into Calgary and entering guilty pleas to a number of charges contained on two different pieces of information (as amended) WJM has entered guilty pleas to the following charges:

Count 1: On or between December 23, 2007, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did knowingly utter, convey or cause [M], [SM], [MM], [JM] to receive a threat to cause death or bodily harm to [M] contrary to Section 264.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Count 5: On or between December 23, 2007, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did commit an assault on [M] contrary to section 266 of the Criminal Code. 

Count 6: On or between December 23, 2007, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did in committing an assault on [M] threaten to use a weapon to wit: a knife contrary to section 267(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Count 7: On or between December 23, 2007, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did commit an assault on [SM], [M], [JM] and [MM] threaten to use a weapon to wit: a knife, contrary to Section 267(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Count 10: On or between April 17, 2008, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did unlawfully and willfully cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal to wit: use a conductive energy weapon on a dog, contrary to section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Count 11: On or between April 17, 2008, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta, did unlawfully and willfully cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal to wit: use a conductive energy weapon on a dog, contrary to section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Count 12: On or between December 23, 2007, and July 31, 2010, both dates inclusive, at or near Carstairs, Alberta did have in his possession a prohibited weapon, to wit a Hot Shot Power Mite without being a holder of a licence under which he may possess it, contrary to section 91(2) of the Criminal Code.

WJM began sexually abusing his daughter SM when she was about nine or ten years old. He threatened to hurt her if she told anyone. These sexual assaults occurred on multiple occasions over the course of a year when he was able to plan to be alone with SM. M had been able to intervene after SM finally told her what was happened, but WJM continued to attempt to sexually abuse the child from 2007 to December 2011. His violence escalated towards M as a result, where he repeatedly punched her and threatened her with a butcher knife against her neck. When the other children tried to protect their mother, WJM turned on them with a slashing motion of the knife. The family dogs also bore the brunt of horrific acts of violence as WJM also pled guilty to using a taser energy gun on both dogs; on one occasion he tasered one dog for such an extended period of time that it caused the dog to “scream” while WJM’s young son was begging him to stop.

In December 2011, M was finally able to call for assistance after WJM left for work the morning after he perpetrated a violent sexual assault on SM. M and the kids were brought to a shelter. M and SM were then taken to the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre, where SM received medical attention for the injuries sustained the day before during the sexual assault. Officers from the Calgary Police Service responded to WJM’s workplace after these events were reported to them. WJM got into his truck when he saw the officers. WJM attempted to flee as an officer approached the truck to arrest him. He drove his truck through a large fenced compound to the south gate of the business, where a marked police vehicle with its lights turned on was waiting. WJM successfully evaded police by driving his truck into the police vehicle and then driving away. Later that day, he was tracked down and arrested.

Since his arrest on December 28, 2011, WJM has been detained. He was given a global sentence of 15 years on all charges.

R. v. Maple Lodge Farms, 2013 ONCJ 535

Maple Lodge Farms was charged on two separate informations, totalling 60 counts. The first Information, which was sworn on January 27, 2010, has 38 counts. On July 14, 2010, a second Information was sworn in with 22 counts. Counsel and the judge presiding over the Judicial Pre-Trial agreed that two representative counts would be tried together first, in order to aid the process of adjudicating or resolving the other 58 counts. On the first Information, the two representative counts are 7 and 34. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency keeps a contingent of inspectors and veterinarians on site to ensure compliance with the Health of Animals Act and its Regulations.

This case involved both factual and credibility determinations, as well as the application of the law in accordance with the Health of Animals Act and its regulations involving the conditions of fowl transportation to Maple Lodge Farms for slaughter. The decision made it clear that it was not about whether or not society should slaughter a chicken for food production or the methods used, but solely concerned with the humane transportation and treatment of two species of chicken en route to and at the slaughter facility on two separate winter dates.

The evidence of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector and veterinarian is deemed credible and reliable by the Court in accepting Dr. Appelt’s expert opinion, which was supported by other witnesses.

The Court was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that broiler birds were loaded for transport on an exceptionally bad weather day and that the defendant knew or should have known that the birds could become wet as snow and ice accumulated and came up off the highway and into the bottom crate area, which took the brunt of the frigid air. Furthermore, some of the birds on the top layer were wet during the loading process due to blowing snow, as the driver later told the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector. Both of these conditions made life impossible for many of the affected birds, therefore unnecessary suffering occurred.

Maple Lodge Farms was found guilty.