R v Bailey, 2017 BCPC 98893-1

Mr. Bailey pleaded guilty to committing an offence contrary to Section 24(1) of the PCA Act. Mr. Bailey left his 10 year old dog ‘Yoshi’ in his vehicle and subsequently forgot about him. Yoshi perished as a result of this action.
Mr. Bailey showed significant remorse in court and it was noted by the judge that “…there is clearly a lack of intent involved in this offence…”.
The judge also cited ‘public humiliation on-line as a mitigating factor’.

Mr. Bailey was fined $1000.00.

R v Wiebe, 2017 BCPC 40473-1

Mr. Wiebe surrendered his 10 year old Bulldog ‘Fallen’ to the Comox SPCA because the dog had allegedly become ‘aggressive’. Fallen was immediately transferred to a vet clinic as she appeared to be suffering from severe neglect and medical concerns.
Fallen was examined and was determined to be in critical distress and was euthanized. A necropsy was performed and the results indicated that Fallen had a body score of 1.5/5 – likely due to inadequate nutrition, she suffered from demodectic mange, deep skin and hair follicle infection, chronic inflammation of both corneas and chronic inflammation of the ear canal. The necropsy indicated that these conditions were ongoing and would have caused significant suffering.

Mr. Wiebe pled guilty to 9.1(2) of the PCA Act. A person responsible for an animal must not cause or permit the animal to be, or to continue to be, in distress.

This case is significant due to the fact that a cruelty case began after the dog was surrendered to the BC SPCA. This suggests and solidifies the fact that just because one gives up custody of their animal, it does not release the owner of liability if the animal is in distress.

R v Paulsen, 2015 BCPC 204679-1

Emma Paulsen owned a dog walking business for 7 years. On May 13th, 2014 Paulsen reported to the RCMP that six dogs had been stolen out of the back of her pickup truck while she was in the washroom at a dog park in Langley. An intensive search and investigation was conducted and resources were used from the RCMP, Animal Control and Pet Searchers Canada, including members of the public. It was not until May 19th, 2014 that Paulsen confessed to Pet Searchers Canada that the dogs had perished in the back of her truck while she was shopping and she had transported the bodies to Chilliwack and left them in a ditch. With this new information, the BC SPCA began an investigation into Paulsen and found that all 6 dogs had perished as a result of heat stroke, one of which belonged to Paulsen.

Although this case was deemed accidental, Paulsen pleaded guilty.

This case is significant as it is one of the few cases in which the accused is convicted of, and receives a strong sentence for, leaving an animal in a hot vehicle. It was also the charge under the (relatively) new section 9.1(1) which creates a positive duty on the part of an owner to protect an animal from a situation that is likely to cause an animal to be in distress (eg. leaving a dog in a car on a hot day).

Mitigating factors include: Paulsen did not intend to harm the dog; Paulsen’s mental state at the time in question; Paulsen is a first-time offender.

Aggravating factors include: Paulsen’s behaviour was more than mere negligence; Paulsen’s six days of deception toward law enforcement, the media, the BCSPCA, and the owners of the deceased dogs; Paulsen did not apologize or express remorse and tried to cover up her wrongdoing.

R v Hague, 2015 BCPC 237363-1

BC SPCA received a video of an individual kicking a Doberman puppy multiple times in an elevator. There was no physical injury to the dog after the abuse took place, however, a behavioural test was conducted and was able to confirm the dog experienced emotional distress. This video, after being submitted to the BC SPCA, was uploaded to the internet and viewed on an international level. This incident led to Mr. Hague resigning from his CEO position at ‘Centreplate’, offering a public apology, and promising to donate $100,000 to an animal welfare group.

Mr. Hague pleaded guilty and received a $5000 fine, and a 3 year prohibition order.
Prosecution and defence were in agreement on this sentence.

This case is significant as it is one of the first cases where a person is convicted based on only “emotional distress” of an animal.

R v Elliott, 2016 BCPC 38493-1

BC SPCA received a cruelty complaint of a dog tied by a choke chain.
When officers arrived, they observed a metal chain embedded in the dog’s neck with an oozing wound. There was a putrid smell emanating from the wound.
Elliott was instructed to take the dog to the vet immediately. Elliott signed custody of the dog over to the BC SPCA due to lack of funds.
Elliott was found guilty of Section 24(1) continuing to allow an animal to be in distress.

This case is significant as it is one of the first tethering cases that resulted in a conviction in British Columbia. Mitigating factors included that Mr. Elliott is First Nations. It was a joint sentencing submission and the judge noted that if it had been up to him, he would have imposed a different (higher) sentence.

R v Marchand, 2016 BCPC 49577-1

BC SPCA responded to a complaint of a rottweiler type dog tethered in a ‘junk pile’. Upon attendance a rottweiler was observed tethered by a choke chain collar to a thick, heavy chain. The dogs’ water bowl was frozen, and her shelter consisted of an old truck canopy with ripped up bedding and therefore she was lying on frozen ground. Between February and April of 2014, SPCA Constables attempted to work with Jimmy Marchand in order to rectify the numerous welfare concerns noted. Nothing had changed from the first attendance, to the day of warrant. The SPCA brought a vet when executing the search warrant who determined that the dog was in distress due to inadequate living conditions. The dog was seized, and eventually re-homed.
Marchand entered a guilty plea on the day of his trial.

R v White, 2015 BCPC 79372-1

BC SPCA attended to a call where a dog (“Apollo”) was allegedly living in a cardboard box on the porch of a house. When Constables attended, the owner of Apollo immediately wanted to surrender him. Apollo was observed to be extremely matted and covered in his own feces and was taken to a veterinarian right away and. Due to being in severe pain and discomfort, the dog was aggressive and defensive. Apollo was anesthetized so the vet could shave him. Once Apollo was shaved, he was observed to have overgrown nails and severe infection in both ears with dermatitis covering his body.
Once Apollo was nursed back to health he was adopted out, but sadly was returned and euthanized as he had become extremely aggressive and was a danger to people. This was likely due to lack of socialization and living in pain and distress for many years.
Mitigating factors include: Mr. White pleaded guilty and was in his 70’s at the time of his trial. He is a First Nations man and suffers from numerous health issues.

R v Bee & Wilson, 2014 BCPC 15968-2-C

Wilson and Bee co-owned ‘Molly’, a shepherd/husky mix dog. Bee left Wilson with Molly when she moved out. Wilson pleaded guilty to failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter, and care for Molly. The report came in to the RCMP from a local school bus driver who said the dog was always tied outside with no food or water. When RCMP investigated initially, Wilson stated that the dog was being moved and that the dog was okay. Another complaint came in several days later and a different RCMP member attended, this time insisting on viewing Molly. Wilson attempted to sway this Constable as well who persisted and eventually was able to view Molly. Wilson admitted Molly had a collar stuck around her neck that he couldn’t get off. When the Constable viewed Molly it was noted that she was covered in her own urine and feces, the surrounding areas she resided in were also covered. A choke collar was embedded in Molly’s neck, and she was, as the vet described, in the worst case of emaciation or body weight. The collar had to be removed without anesthetic as the vet believed Molly would not survive it.

A pre-sentence report shows: Mr. Wilson has a previous criminal record, including one sexual assault conviction, and two physical assault convictions against his spouse. Mr. Wilson has limited intellectual capacities to deal with problems. He is unemployed and currently receiving support from the band of $235/month. He has a longstanding problem with alcohol and drugs and has been assessed in the low-average range of intelligence.

Mitigating factors include: Wilson’s showed remorse and pleaded guilty early on in the proceedings.

Aggravating factors include: Mr. Wilson’s deceit toward the constables, and that Mr. Wilson tried to avoid the examination of the dog by the constables; Mr. Wilson’s awareness of the problem with the collar and the conditions in which the dog was kept, and his subsequent failure to take action; Molly’s level and length of suffering.

R v Barker, 2017 BCPC 166293-1

Ms. Barker was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. She allowed her 4 month old pit bull puppy, Barrett, to become so malnourished due to illness, that he passed away. Although Ms. Barker did take Barrett to the vet after SPCA intervention, it had become too late at that point. Necropsy results found Barrett to be severely emaciated, he tested positive for Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper Virus, and pneumonia.

Mitigating factors in this case are that Ms. Barker enrolled herself in counselling prior to trial, is First Nations and had the community support of the Ucluelet First Nation band. As such, Gladue factors were considered. Barker also showed remorse for her actions and insight into her offending behaviour.

R v Cunningham, 2014 BCSC 150

Cunningham and Whiffen appealed their conviction for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to a horse, under 445.1(1) and a judicial stay on 446(1)(b). The grounds of appeal were based on the evidence of Ms. Sabourin, who was present at the time the horse was purchased and later moved onto the farm for a brief period. Ms. Sabourin was a veterinary assistant and offered Whiffen and Cunningham advice for the horse’s special diet when she became concerned about his weight loss. She repeated this on multiple occasions during the few months she lived on the farm. The appellants contested that Ms. Sabourin taking over care of the horse broke the causative link necessary for any criminal liability on their part.

The judge dismissed the appeal of each appellant.