R v Bennett, 2010 CanLII 40388 NLPC

According to the veterinarian the dog “looked well cared for.” However, there was a serious injury to her neck. Her skin was broken and the injury circled around her entire neck. Dr. Martyn testified that there was an “extremely noticeable smell” coming from the dog as a result of infection. Dr. Martyn described the wound as being “quite infected.” She testified that the injury could have been caused by a rope being placed tightly around the dog’s neck and cutting into the dog’s skin (breathlessness). Dr. Martyn indicated that the injury was approximately eight days to two weeks old. Bennett agreed that he had placed a rope around the dog’s neck, but denied that he had secured it “tightly” or that he saw any signs of the dog being in pain or discomfort.

Trial for an accused charged with criminal neglect. The accused claimed the dog broke free for her collar and he then secured the dog with a piece of rope. He never replaced the collar. Two weeks later the family when on a trip and a friend looked after the dog who observed the rope was too tight causing injury to the neck and infection. Vet’s opinion the injury as 8 to 14 days old.

The accused was convicted after trial. While the dog was otherwise well cared off and the accused didn’t intentionally try to injure the dog, by not checking on the neck for 2 weeks it was a marked departure from the standard of care and no legal justification existed.

Case provides an excellent summary of the law concerning negligence mens rea.