R. v. Millett, 2019 NSSC 123

Nelson Millett, the appellant, was the caregiver for 31 cattle. The judge found the cattle were starving, the cattle were not provided with adequate water, the shelter in the barn was inadequate, the flooring was covered with manure, and there was no evidence of hay being put down for bedding. 30 cattle were seized, while one had already died. Out of the seized animals, three more did not survive.

Pursuant to s.446(1)(b), Mr. Millett was charged with 60 days custody to be served intermittently followed by a probation for a period of 12 months and a ban prohibiting Mr. Millett from owning, having custody or control or have residing in the same premises any bird or animal for life. For the charge pursuant to s.21(2) of the Animal Protection Act, an order of restitution for the benefit of the Department of Agriculture of $18,900.53 was made.

Mr. Millett appeals the sentence of the imposition of the 60 days custodial sentence, probation and prohibition.

The appeal was dismissed because the trial judge’s sentencing decision was not found to be disproportional or demonstrably unfit. The judge found the following aggravating factors:

(a) the number of animals affected, a total of 31 cattle;

(b) the degree of harm caused by Mr. Millett;

(c) that treatment of the cattle was a longstanding process – it did not occur over a couple of days, and

(d) Mr. Millett did not seem to realize to what extent his actions resulted in the suffering of the animals.

The only mitigating factor was that this case was not about abandonment of the animals, but rather insufficient care. Given these facts, the prohibition for life was not demonstrably unfit and the sentence of 60 days was within an acceptable range to promote a sense of responsibility.