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.

R v Cunningham and Whiffen, 2011 BCPC 0358

Whiffen bought a small horse for his children to ride. Cunningham lived on Whiffen’s farm and looked after the horses. The horse was in good condition when it was purchased by Whiffen, and the seller provided him with information on the horse’s special feeding requirements. After one year of living with Whiffen, the horse was emaciated and had lost 300 to 400 pounds.

After many consultations with an SPCA officer, Whiffen said he did not want to put any more money into the horse and that he was left with no choice but to put him down. Whiffen made an appointment with a vet to euthanize the horse. Cunningham removed the horse from the farm without Whiffen’s knowledge, and later euthanized him by tying three ropes around his neck, lifting him with an excavator, and subsequently snapping his neck.

Both accused were found guilty; Whiffen as the owner of the horse and Cunningham as the caretaker. Cunningham and Whiffen were both aware of the horse’s special dietary requirements and did nothing to help the animal, thus failing to provide suitable and adequate food which caused unnecessary suffering.  A witness was able to testify that the horse’s neck snapping caused him immediate death and he did not suffer in that instance.

Acquitted on count 1 – 445(1); guilty on count 2 – 445.1(1)(a); and, judicial stay on count 3 – 446(1)(b)

R v Ruvinsky, 1998 ONPC 3485

Ruvinsky, a manager of after hours clubs in Toronto, allegedly allowed his dogs to lick and sniff cocaine. A former sex worker, “Crazy Jennie” Rowden notified the police that Ruvinsky had sexual intercourse with his Doberman. The Toronto Humane Society, in conjunction with the police, seized the dogs without a warrant. “Crazie Jennie”‘s evidence did not hold up in court. The THS was determined to have acted in good faith, despite the lack of a warrant, and its actions were justified by the urgency and severity of the allegations.

R. v. Singh, 2001 CarswellOnt 457

This is an appeal by Kathy Singh against her conviction and sentence imposed on the 29th of March, 2000 relating to a charge under s. 446(1)(c) .The case started with a complaint relating to a sick cat at the Pet Sanctuary.  After following the removal procedures set out in the Act, the cat was delivered to a local veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian treated the cat but was unable to restore the cat to health; the cat had to be euthanized. The costs of the treatment billed to the Ontario Humane Society was $860.12. The appellant raised numerous grounds of appeal against her conviction, including the unreasonableness of the verdict, reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the trial judge and the failure to hold a voir dire respecting common law voluntariness of a statement made by the appellant to the inspector. There was no prejudice to the appellant’s fair trial interest that could be characterized as a miscarriage of justice by the admission of the appellant’s statement as to ownership of the Pet Sanctuary to the inspector without the required voir dire.

R. v. Perrault, 2007 NSPC 14

Perrault was charged after it was determined that he had cut the penis and testicles off a kitten acquired by him for his 10 year old daughter. The kitten’s distress continued throughout the weekend while he was being treated in what was an unsuccessful effort to reverse the damage Perrault had inflicted.

R. v. Lupton, 2005 NSPC 11

A Great Dane was seize from a house where he was tied to a very short tether in front. He was emaciated, dull, lethargic, with no water or food available and extremely bony.

Ralph Hunter v. Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2013 ONSC 6638

Inspector Wilkinson gave evidence at this trial that he had concluded by October 15, 2012 the animals on Mr. Hunter’s property were in “immediate distress” and that he would attend at the Hunter property pursuant to S, 12(6) of the OSPCA Act without a warrant. Defendant disagreed that there was evidence of “immediate distress” and this Court came to the same conclusion. In that way, all the pictures of the animals and property were obtained illegally.

R. v. Small, 2005 ONPC 1430

Sentencing of the accused, Small, who pled guilty to the charge of cruelty to animals. She had locked the dog in a cage and withheld his food. Small had no criminal record.

R. v. Blankenburg, 2010 YKTC 95

Blankenburg and his wife were camping at Rose Lake. A dog belonging to a fellow camper wandered onto his site. Blankenburg claims he thought he was about to be attacked, and yelled at the dog to run off. Enraged, he told the dog’s guardians that he would shoot the dog if it attacked him.