R v Ruvinsky, 1998 CarswellOnt 3485

Trial of bestiality and poisoning.

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. 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.

A witness reported that the accused digitally penetrated the anus of his male dog, and let one of his dogs lick his genitals. She also reported that both of the accused’s dogs were permitted to lick and sniff cocaine, which was present in the accused’s living room. The dogs were taken into custody by animal control authorities, and their fur and urine was subsequently tested for the presence of cocaine. The tests showed trace elements of cocaine in the dogs’ urine and fur. The accused argued that the seizure of the dogs, and the testing of the fur and urine, was done without a warrant and without his consent.

Held: The accused was acquitted. Bestiality included anal or vaginal intercourse with an animal by a man or a woman. This definition did not include digital penetration of the dog, or a dog’s licking a human’s genitals. The seizure of the dogs for their safe keeping was not a breach of the accused’s rights under section 8 of the Charter. The taking of the dogs’ fur and urine samples constituted a minor violation of the accused’s Charter rights. However, the real evidence obtained was non-conscriptive, and its admission did not render the trial unfair. Accordingly, the dogs’ hair and urine was admitted into evidence. However, given the problems with continuity of this evidence, the samples were given little weight. The Crown did not introduce any evidence that cocaine was a harmful drug to animals.

R v Laplante, 2004 CarswellOnt 6455

Laplante neglected his horses and allowed them to die a slow death of hunger.

Accused claimed he loved animals. The judge called him out on that saying that he had received contact with animal authorities and despite that he continued to allow his animals to decline into starvation and neglect. He had the control to do something about it and didn’t. The judge was very close to imposing a period of jail to deal with general deterrence. Given a suspended sentence and 3 years probation with 240 hours of community service, restitution order of $5,687.83.

Sentence: (1) Probation for a period of 3 years, (2) Order not to consume alcohol for 12 months, (3) 240 hours of community service, (4) Order to receive assessment/counseling, (5) Restitution order to SPCA

R v Larouche, 2001 CarswellOnt 6185

Accused was charged with offence under s. 445(1)(a) of Criminal Code for allegedly beating his dog in. At trial neighbour testified to observing accused administer beating in early morning hours and lawn maintenance worker corroborated neighbour’s story but acknowledged not reporting matter to society. Accused denied beating and stated society did not contact him until two months later. Accused acquitted. No evidence was submitted of injury or distress sustained by dog. Despite complaint to society dog was permitted to remain with accused. Given absence of any investigative evidence at time and absence of follow up by society pursuant to ss. 13, 14 of Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, recourse to charges under Code was not appropriate.

Accused was charged causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to a dog for beating the dog. The dog had been barking. A witness observed the accused yell that he was going to kill the dog and then hold the dog down and punch it in the face with a closed fist approximately 5 times. The dog was yelping. He then dragged the dog into the house. The witness called the Humane Society. The witness had a prior issue with the accused’s cats. The witness was placing mouse traps in her garden to deter the cats and would place bags of their feces at the front door of the accused. She had previously reported the accused to the Humane Society for leaving his dog out in the rain. Another witness also testified to seeing the accused strike the dog. A vet that did not examine the dog testified that a dog hit in the manner indicated would suffer possible bruising and injury to internal organs and would suffer emotional harm. She indicated punching a dog is not an accepted dog training method. The accused denied the incident completely. He indicated he did not hear about it from the Humane Society until 2 months later and in that time he had surrendered the dog to the Humane Society who ultimately destroyed it.

The court did not accept the evidence of the fist witness as there was no much animosity between the parties and her evidence was suspect. The 2nd witness was discounted because he did not immediately report. The Court found the incident occurred on the civil balance of probabilities but not on the criminal standard. The Court was also suspect whether there was pain, suffering or injury as the Humane Society did not take any steps to have the dog seized.

Not Guilty.

R v Singh, 2001 CarswellOnt 457

Appeal from conviction for criminal neglect of a cat. The accused operated a no kill pet shelter. The cat in question was in bad medical shape and had not received adequate medical treatment. On previous occasion the Applicant had acknowledged to the SPCA inspector that she was the owner of the shelter. On appeal she argued the statement should not have been admitted without a voir dire.

Appeal Court agreed at voir dire should have been held and the inspector was a person in authority however, given the answers the Applicant provided during her testimony, acknowledging she was the owner, the lack of a voir dire was not fatal. It was clear ownership was not the issue at trial, whether the animal was neglected was at issue. Appeal against conviction dismissed.

Sentence appeal allowed. The applicant had become impecunious and the $1000 fine was vacated but the restitution order and probation conditions remained.

This is an appeal by Kathy Singh against her conviction and sentence imposed on the 29th of March, 2000 relating to a charged 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.

Appeal against conviction is dismissed and the appeal against sentence is allowed in part (fine of $1,000.00) (1) restitution order of $860.12 (2) probation order for 2 years. Including not owning or having in her custody or control any animal or bird nor to be involved with, directly or indirectly, any pet sanctuary in the Province of Ontario for a period of two years.

R v Fagundes, 2006 CanLII 5869 ONCA

Fagundes neglected farm animals and harbored stolen property on his land.

Endorsement. The facts of the case aren’t revealed in the decision. The accused was convicted of various offences including criminal neglect of animals. Sentence appeal. Sentence was reduced and probation requirement removed. The animal prohibition remained for 1 year.

R v Stewart & Wilson, 2008 OJ No 5493

Trial Decision: Trial of husband and wife on charges of criminal neglect and unnecessary suffering of cats and dogs. They had been the subject of OPSCA investigations before. An investigator received a complaint and visited. She observed the smell of cat urine. She left a notice. The wife called to say she was out of town. The investigator did not believe her and obtained a warrant. Upon execution 56 cats and 2 dogs were found in the 1 bedroom apartment. The conditions were unsanitary and the animals had various ailments. There was a lack of food and food. The animals were seized and 8 cats had to be euthanized. Couple claimed violations of rights because of insufficient warrant. They claimed the OPSCA agent was biased against them and the animals were temporarily in worse state because of an illness of the wife. The warrant was sufficient, the vets and agents were credible and the accused’s evidence was inconsistent and defied common sense and logic. To subject the animals to the living conditions in the couple apartment was criminal. The couple’s conduct was wilful. They caused unnecessary pain and suffering to the cats, and failed to provide adequate food, water and shelter for most of the animals. They were equally responsible for the offences. Both convicted.

Sentencing Decision: Wilson was sentenced to 60 days incarceration. Stewart was sentenced to 75 days incarceration. Each was to reimburse the OSPCA in the amount of $595. Mitigating factors were the defendants’ ages, lack of a criminal record, that the crimes had more to do with neglect and omission rather than intentional infliction of harm and suffering the fact that the likelihood of re-offending was minimal, and the apparent poor health of both defendants. Aggravating factors included the prolonged period of time over which the offences occurred, the apparent lack of insight and empathy displayed still by the accused, the vulnerability of the animals, the large number of animals involved, the extent of the pain and suffering to which so many of the animals were exposed, the breaching of the trust that must exist such that domestic animals were properly cared for, and the lack of plan or proposal set forth on behalf of either accused who had obvious mental health and personality issues. Denunciation and general deterrence were of paramount importance in this case. To impose a conditional sentence would not be consistent with the fundamental principles of sentencing. Each offender had been previously convicted for a similar offence but had since received a pardon. Each was then considered a first-time offender.

R v Parent, 2003 CarswellOnt 6013 ONCJ

Parent apparently made a ‘poor’ decision to chop off his dog’s tail, causing him severe pain. The facts aren’t clear in this case. It seems that Parent was not wantingly or deliberately abusive of the animals in his care. The SPCA also asked for a court order to have his pets spayed and neutered, but the judge refused – since there was no connection between the offence and this concern.

Accused dock the tail of his dog. No evidence he was otherwise abusive to this particular dog or his other animals. Also appears that he castrated his animals. Suspended sentence and 1 year probation with conditions that his animals are to be inspected by the Humane Society every two months and he is to inform the Humane Society if he gets any new animals and to allow the Humane Society to conduct inspections on his property.

R v Freymond, 2006 OJ No 608 ONCJ

Charter application under s. 8.

The accused argues that the OSPCA, Renfrew County branch, conducted a warrantless search of their kennel. The inspector observed that there was a large number of dogs in a gravel pit. The dogs in question were attached to a series of chains. The dogs were placed in such a way that they would not have contact with one another presumably to avoid them fighting with one another. There were a total of forty-five husky dogs at the location and that apart from the dogs who were under the flatbed, there was no shade for the dogs in question. The water bowls for the dogs were empty and the location was fowl smelling due to the heat and the large pile of chicken feathers and chicken parts as well as dog feces. The warrantless search was illegal since the inspector hadn’t seen an animal in immediate distress before entering the locked property.

Charter application to exclude evidence because of search and seizure issue. Charged with criminal neglect for inadequate food and care of dogs on the property. The OPSCA had received a complaint of neglect. Dogs being kept in a gravel pit. The gate to the gravel pit was shut and locked when the agent arrived. The Agent walked down the road and was able to observe the dogs

Held: Application allowed, breach found and evidence excluded. The OPSCA Act only authorized a warrantless search observed an animal in immediate distress. The Agent did not observe the dogs until she trespassed on the property. Agent could have attempted to view the dogs from an adjoining property, she could have asked the landowner for permission to enter or she could have obtained a search warrant. Inclusion of the evidence would adversely affect the administration of justice.

Evidence declared inadmissible.

R v Power, 2003 CanLII 20379 ONCA

Crown appeal on the question of sentence. Guilty plea of an accused who captured a healthy cat and videotaped himself torturing it to death. Guilty plea to animal abuse and mischief. The accused and two others captured a healthy domestic cat belonging to an unknown third party and took it to an abandoned building. They proceeded to torture and finally kill the helpless animal. The respondent videotaped this process. The police discovered the skinned body of the cat hanging in the refrigerator of the accused. The cat’s head was in a zip lock bag in the freezer. 21 year old accused, no criminal record, remorse, intense media.

He was sentenced to 90 days intermittent for the cruelty charge and a consecutive, conditional 18-month sentence followed by three years probation on the mischief charge. Stringent terms were attached to the conditional sentence, including 240 hours of cso. By the time of the appeal, Power had completed his intermittent sentence, the most stringent portion of the conditional sentence and over half of the community service. The Crown sought additional incarceration of 10 months.

Held: appeal dismissed. The animal abuse charge had a maximum of 6 months and this was ½ of the maximum. The maximum sentence for this offence could not be artificially increased through the addition of a second charge (mischief) that resulted from the same conduct. Despite the sentencing judge’s acceptance that the accused did not want the cat to suffer it is clear the cat suffered horribly and the accused was enjoying the suffering of the cat.

It is up to Parliament to change the maximum sentencing on animal cases (note at the time of offence the maximum was 6 months).

R v Rodgers, 2012 ONCJ 808

During a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, Rodgers, inebriated, threw her puppy down a flight of stairs, chased it, injured it, and killed it. While intoxicated the accused had an argument with his girlfriend and picked up their puppy and threw it down the stairs. He chased the puppy, pushed his girlfriend down and slammed the puppy into the ground. The puppy died of severe injuries.

Youthful offender, criminal record including violence, on probation at time of offence. Summary election. Early guilty plea.

Sentence: 8 months jail (68 days pre-trial and additional 172 days), 10 year 447.1 order, 2 years probation with 80 hours community service.