R v McPike, 2015 AJ No 1504 ABPC

Trial and sentencing of accused.

Accused and the Complainant had an argument. Accused kicked the Complaintant’s dog down the stairs. The dog yelped but there were no injuries. Accused proceeded to physically assault the Complainant. At trial, Accused was found guilty of assault and cruelty against animals, but acquitted on the possession of weapon charge.

Defence and Crown made joint submissions on sentencing, requesting for 12 months suspended sentence. Under s.447(1), Crown asked for a pet prohibition of 2 years with reporting requirements, on the grounds that the Accused harmed an animal that was defenseless and within his power and control. Defense argued against pet prohibition, arguing that the accused made a impulsive and remorseful decision after a night of drinking.

The Court granted 15 day sentencing on each count, to be served concurrently and intermittently, followed by a 12 month probation. Using discretion, the Court did not make a prohibition against animals.

Hunter v OSPCA & Bishop, 2013 ONSC 6638

Inspector Wilkinson gave evidence at this trial that he had concluded by October 15, 2012 that the animals on 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 Chen, 2020 ABQB 734; 2021 ABCA 74

Facts: 19-year-old accused pled guilty to beating Cinnamon, his 10-month-old husky. Evidence revealed present injuries as well as healed previous injuries. Neighbors called police, who arrested Chen. Chen claimed Cinnamon had defecated on the floor, and the beatings were ‘discipline.’

Initial Sentence: 60-days intermittent sentence, plus two years probation.

Accused Appeal: Sentence varied to 1-year conditional sentence.

Crown Appeal: Leave to appeal granted, appeal will be heard September 28th 2021.

Intervenor: Animal Justice granted leave to intervene, facta have been submitted.

Appeal set to discuss deference as well as goal & principles of sentencing in animal cruelty cases. Appeal was heard at the ABCA on September 21st 2021, reasons are reserved.

R v Klimowicz, 2021 ONSC 2589

Not an animal cruelty case, but a case of interest.

Facts: Accused is an animal rights activist who attended the complainant’s farm to document the conditions of the mink fur farm. The videos were uploaded to Youtube.

Charges: Break and enter to commit mischief.

Held: Acquitted. Crown did not make out intent to commit mischief.

  [17]… In my view, a harm that might have occurred, but did not, cannot constitute mischief.

R v Pelly, 2021 SKCA 50

Dangerous offender application appeal.

No charges for offences against animals; however, accused has a long criminal history (52 convictions) and has a history of animal cruelty.

Court found accused to be a dangerous offender. Court initially gave determinant sentence, but the sentence was varied to indeterminant after successful Crown appeal.

R v Runions, 2021 ABQB 67

Dangerous Offender Application.

Facts: For the instant charge, Accused pled guilty to aggravated assault after ‘viciously’ slamming a machete into an unsuspecting victim’s neck.

Analysis: Accused claimed that violence was normal to him, and his long violent history including torturing and killing animals in his youth. He would kill his mother’s cats because he believed she loved the cats more than she loved her children.

Held: Accused designated a dangerous offender and an indeterminant penitentiary sentence was imposed.

R v Baker, 2021 BCSC 1103

This is a 90-day bail review case.

Facts: 50-year-old Accused engaged in a sexual relationship with a Complainant under 16-years-old. While released on an undertaking, he began harassing another Complainant, threatening to harm her and her dog.

Charged: Sexual interference, extortion, and threatening to injure an animal.

Held: Accused was released on strict conditions, including refraining from threatening to injure an animal.

R v Aucoin, 2021 NSPC 26

Facts: During an argument, accused assaulted and threatened his intimate partner (IPV). He also threatened to throw his cat, Turbo, out the window.

Analysis: At trial, the accused argued that he could not be convicted of threatening to injure his own property. He also argued that the threats were not serious.

Held: Convicted. So long as the elements of uttering threats are made out, an animal owner can be convicted. Ownership is not a defence to offences against animals.

R v Robertson, 2021 NSPC 21

Facts: Following a negative online review, accused dog kennel owner couldn’t sell puppies, population grew, and accused couldn’t take care of all the puppies. SPCA took some (6), but gave accused an order to comply with the Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations. Unable to do so, accused was charged for various provincial offences.

Analysis: Judge took great issue with the credibility of the Crown witnesses and SPCA inspectors, finding their testimony harsh and exaggerated. No legal obligation to follow the Code or orders given by the SPCA, as they were unlawful, ambiguous, and unnecessary. Judge was highly critical of SPCA’s orders, as well as the expert evidence presented.

Held: Acquitted, due diligence defence accepted.

R c Godbout, 2021 QCCQ 4263

Facts: Accused and Complainant lived together, she allowed her spouse’s son (the accused) to stay with them. All three parties admitted to using illicit drugs. On the day in question, the Accused was drunk, assaulted his former step-mother, and in the process uttered threats to harm her as well as his cat. Accused later admitted to threatening the cat.

Charges: Assault and uttering threats. Judge amended charges to include s. 264.1(1)(c) uttering threats to kill the cat.

Held: Found guilty of assault and uttering threats.