R v Garvin, 2021 ONCJ

Garvin was arrested in January 2021 for various offences, including uttering threats to his parents, possessing an illegal firearm, and killing his nine-month-old puppy named Bane. In May 2021, 22-yeaar-old Garvin pled guilty, and an agreed statement of fact was submitted to the Court.

In April 2019, after threatening the lives of his family members, Garvin’s father co-signed a lease and Garvin moved into an apartment alone. He then acquired two dogs, Rudy  in October 2019, and Bane (named after the Batman villain) in July 2020. Garvin told his father that he intended to train both dogs to be aggressive attack dogs, and quickly began using extreme tactics to make dogs aggressive. In August 2020, Garvin became irritated that Bane was not obeying him properly, and began threatening the dog’s life.

By October 2020, neighbours could hear that Garvin was beating Bane, and called PAWS (the Ontario Provincial Animal Welfare Service). Three days later an inspector attended and left a notice on Garvin’s door. The complaint was inspected but no charges were laid. Sometime in December 2020, Garvin’s parents took Bane to a veterinary clinic, where surgery was necessary to treat a stab wound. Head trauma was also noted, but no report to authorities was made. Garvin was enraged that his parents took Bane, and continued to send threatening texts.

In January 2021, multiple neighbours called 911, police, and PAWS reporting that Bane was being severely beaten in Garvin’s apartment. All agencies refused to send immediate help. A few days later, Garvin’s mother called the police for a wellness check. Only then did authorities enter the apartment and found Bane’s deceased body in the bathroom. A necropsy revealed several injuries including significant rib bruising, fluid in Bane’s lungs, multiple skull fractures, brain and spinal bruising, a ruptured liver, and abdominal fluids.

Garvin was arrested and plead guilty to nine offences, including 2 counts of causing pain and suffering to Bane, uttering threats to kill Bane, possession of a prohibited firearm (sawed-off shotgun), criminal harassment against his parents, mischief, and breach of non-communication order. At sentencing the Crown sought a 6-year carceral sentence, and the defence sought a 2-year carceral sentence.

The judge sentenced Garvin to 5-years incarceration, which after pre-sentence custody credit was applied, leaves Garvin with 45-months incarceration remaining. Out of the 5-year sentence, 2-years were calculated for the offences related to Bane. He received 2 years for causing the death of Bane, 6 months concurrent for stabbing Bane and 6 months concurrent for uttering threats against both dogs. Garvin was also given a lifetime animal prohibition.