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.

R. v. Bourque, 2013 BCCA 447

This is an appeal from a sentence of nine months in prison followed by three years of probation in 2012. The appellant was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two animals, killing two animals, and possessing a weapon with the intent to endanger public peace. The probation order contains 46 conditions, and the appellant claims that some of them are irrelevant, unnecessary, vague, unreasonable, and do not serve a valid purpose under the Criminal Code.

Kayla Bourque murdered and dismembered her family’s pet dog and cat. She documented and filmed these events. At her Simon Fraser University apartment, she also had what has been described as a “kill kit,” which included a knife. She pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the two pets (section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code), killing the two pets (section 445(1)(a) of the Criminal Code), and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose to the public peace (section 88(2) of the Criminal Code). Ms. Bourque was sentenced to two months in prison (plus seven months in pre-trial custody) and three years on probation. Her probation includes 46 conditions designed to protect the public and rehabilitate Ms. Bourque. She requests leave to appeal some of the terms of her probation order as well as the lifetime animal prohibition order under s 447.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

Upon review of the facts of the initial trial and subsequent probation conditions, the Court determined that Ms. Bourque has a history of torturing and killing animals, and has indicated the desire to escalate that behaviour to humans. She enjoys this behaviour and is unaware of the harm and suffering she causes these creatures. She was diagnosed as meeting the criteria of sexual sadism, hematolagnia (drinking blood), zoosadism (inflicting pain and suffering on animals), and antisocial personality disorder, and her condition is considered to be permanent and not temporary. Based on the facts and psychiatric evaluations, Ms. Bourque is young and dangerous, and requires 24-hour supervision. The probation conditions are reasonable in this case for the most part, as they have a legitimate purpose and “any impediment to rehabilitation is outweighed by the need to protect the public” (para. 34). The Court found that she has forfeited the privilege of having animals as companions by betraying their trust in her.

The appeal was allowed in part only for the purpose of clarifying the language in conditions 35 and 39, which related to anything intended to conceal her identity and having a peace officer attend her place of residence at any time to confirm that she is complying with the condition that she not reside anywhere or have custody or control of any animal.

R. v. L.M.R., 2010 ABCA 286

The respondent entered a guilty plea to three charges: sexual interference, child pornography, and bestiality. She was sentenced to four and a half years in prison overall. In 2002, the respondent gave birth to a daughter. They lived with the biological father in Edmonton for several months before the respondent moved out, leaving the child with her father. The father retained custody of the daughter until May 2007, when it was discovered that he was using the internet to solicit women for sex with him and the child. That complaint led the police to his home, where the child was apprehended and the aforementioned video recording was discovered among the father’s collection of pornography. There were also recordings of the respondent attempting to sexually engage a dog, which the father had also filmed. The sentencing judge imposed a total sentence of four and a half years in prison, divided into three and a half years for sexual interference, one year (consecutive) for making child pornography, and one year (concurrent) for bestiality.

R. v. B.M., 1998 CanLII 13326 (ON CA)

The accused was charged with numerous sexual offences against nine people over a 39-year period, including his four daughters, an ex-wife, two other relatives, a babysitter, and a family friend. At the time of the offences, some of the complainants were very young children, including one two-year-old. He was also charged with bestiality in connection with the attacks on two dogs. The trial judge denied the defence counsel’s request to sever two counts of bestiality at the start of the trial, citing the delay in bringing the request and his belief that the bestiality allegations would not inflame the jury any more than the allegations of abuse of the accused’s children.

The defence theory was that the complainants had either intentionally conspired against the accused or unconsciously influenced each other’s recollection of events. The defence counsel hoped to use the complainants’ phone records to prove their collaboration. The defence counsel’s request for the production of the complainants’ phone records was denied. The defence wanted to bring in a memory expert, such as a psychologist. The trial judge qualified her as an expert but excluded her testimony on the grounds that it was calculated to confuse the jury into believing that no one could have a memory of a 20- or 30-year-old event; the case was not complicated and lay persons deal with the assessment of memories every day; because there is a debate among experts about how memories work, a great deal of time would be expended on cross-examination and the Crown having to call its own expert; and the jury.

The accused was convicted on 33 of the 49 counts. He appealed. The trial judge erred by failing to adequately instruct the jury on how to apply the evidence from the various counts. When evidence from one count is inadmissible as similar fact evidence on other counts, jurors must be instructed to consider each charge separately and not to use evidence from one count as evidence on any other counts. The jury was correctly instructed in the charge to reach a verdict on each count separately. The trial judge, however, failed to inform the jury that they could not consider evidence on one count in reaching a verdict on another. The Crown’s address to the jury, in which they were invited to consider the effect of the evidence as a whole as proof of the allegations and which highlighted the consistency in the complainant’s evidence, exacerbated this failure.

The expert’s evidence did not explain how she tested her hypothesis, and her conclusions appeared to be based on anecdotal evidence. Furthermore, the portions of her proposed evidence that were merely a general discussion about the memory process unrelated to any specific problems, in this case, were properly excluded on the basis of relevance. Such evidence would not have helped the jury understand the Crown witnesses’ testimony.

The conviction was appealed.

R. v. Parsons, 2010 BCCA 377

This is a sentence appeal from a five-year sentence imposed on the appellant for breaking and entering a dwelling house with intent to commit an indictable offence under section 348.1(a) of the Criminal Code, sexual assault under section 271 of the Code, and knowingly uttering a threat to injure an animal under section 264.1(1)(c) of the Code. The breaking and entering offence resulted in a five-year sentence. 

In brief, the appellant, who was about 42 at the time of sentence, went to the victim’s house in 2003 when he knew the male occupant would be at work and not at home, broke down a barricaded door, and sexually assaulted the victim. The accused allegedly threatened to kill the victim’s cat during the assault in order to force her to comply with his wishes. Prior to this incident, the appellant and the victim were in a relationship, and the victim was living with another man at the time. 

The circumstances of the offence are aggravated to the extreme because it was clear from certain communications between the appellant and the victim that the victim feared the appellant would come into the house and harm her, so she and her partner took steps to barricade the house’s entrances. The appellant, on the other hand, managed to avoid the barricade and gain access to the house at a time when he expected the victim to be present and the male occupant to be absent. Despite the victim’s attempts to hide from the appellant, he eventually tracked her down and sexually assaulted her. It had a significant impact on her. The police were called and he was arrested at the scene. 

The nature of the crimes included breaking into the victim’s home and sexually assaulting her. This victim, like any other Canadian citizen, has the right to feel safe and secure in her own home. Section 348.1 requires that this be regarded as a significant aggravating factor. He used threats and violence against the victim. These included violently grabbing the victim’s hair and pulling it out, threatening to kill her pet cat, threatening to beat her up if she didn’t cooperate, slapping her across the face, and threatening to bite off her clitoris. 

The appeal from the sentence was dismissed and the man was charged.

R. v. Perrin, 2012 NSPC 134

Mr. Perrin, the accused, pleaded guilty to a single charge of killing a cat in violation of section 445.1(a) of the Criminal Code (Code). The case is now before the Court for decision. Because the Crown proceeded by indictment, the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment of no more than five years. 

Mr. Perrin contacted the landlord of his apartment building on December 3, 2011, at approximately 9:00 p.m., to request her assistance in removing a splinter from his left heel. He went to the landlord’s apartment and asked for her help in removing the splitter. The landlord did not notice any scratches on Mr. Perrin at the time. Later that evening, around 9:30 p.m., the landlord heard a loud banging noise coming from Mr. Perrin’s apartment, which was directly below hers. The loud noise was caused by a concerned resident pounding on Mr. Perrin’s apartment door in an attempt to elicit a response from within. Residents of the apartment building heard thrashing and nose banging coming from the apartment. They described the terrifying noise as sounding like a cat crying out in agony. After hearing this, a resident attempted but failed, to kick in the door to Mr. Perrin’s apartment. The resident could hear a cat whimpering from the other side of the door at that point, so he called the landlord. The police were called to the apartment. When the cops arrived, they discovered Mr. Perrin asleep in bed, wearing only a T-shirt. On the bed was a pair of bloody jeans. Mr. Perrin’s sneakers were also blood-splattered. Mr. Perrin’s arms, hands, and legs were also covered in scratches, according to the officers. He was also very inebriated.

Mr. Perrin was sentenced to 30 days in prison to be served at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on an intermittent basis from Friday at 8:00 p.m. to Monday at 6:00 a.m., beginning on Friday, November 23, 2012, and continuing until the sentence is completed. He was also sentenced to 24 months of probation.

R. v. Rogers, 2002 BCSC 386

On September 11, 2001, a Provincial Court Judge convicted David Charles Rogers of threatening to kill a dog. The appellant and the main Crown witnesses, the Cutlans, appeared to have a history of conflict. According to them, the appellant yelled at them as they approached his home with their unleashed dog on the day in question, “Get your (f’ing) dog on the leash.” “Why you’re not on one,” Krista Cutlan responded. “Get your (f’ing) dog on a leash or I’ll (f’ing) kill it,” the appellant was said to respond. 

The appellant’s main complaint is that the trial judge did not properly instruct himself on how to apply reasonable doubt to the issue of credibility. According to the trial judge, the issue of credibility was viewed as a choice between the testimony of Crown witnesses and that of the appellant. A direction to the trier of fact in this manner is a legal error: R. v. W.(D.) (1991), 1991 CanLII 93 (SCC), 63 C.C.C. (3d) 397. (S.C.C.).

The appeal was dismissed.

R. v. Hughes, 2008 BCSC 676

This is an appeal from the decision of a Provincial Court judge who found the respondent not guilty on a charge under s. 446(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. 

Sara Kons was the owner of two cats on February 14, 2005. She was in a relationship with the respondent, who was present at her home on the night in question. She had gone to bed when she was awakened by the respondent, who informed her that he had sat heavily on the couch, which had a faulty leg and severely injured the cat who was underneath the couch. She stated that the cat was gasping for air and that the only thing she knew to do was break the cat’s neck because there was no veterinarian in town. She went back to bed and promptly fell asleep. She was then startled awake by the sound of a microwave door opening. When she went downstairs, she noticed the accused holding the cat outside the microwave oven. The microwave door was open, and the cat was carrying a weight on top of it. 

The actus reus of this definition of the offence necessitates proof that the accused caused the animal unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury. The Crown must prove that the accused acted “wilfully” under the mens rea requirement. In the context of Section 446(1)(a) of the Code, this necessitates proof that the accused intended such a result or that a reasonable person would recognize that his or her actions would expose an animal to unnecessary pain, and suffering, or injury.

He was found guilty and was sentenced on April 22nd at 9:30 in the morning.