R v McKinlay, 2020 BCSC 1381

Ms. McKinlay (“the Accused”) was convicted of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to a large number of her farm animals and wilfully failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for them contrary to ss. 445.1(1)(a) and 446(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. She was sentenced to 4 month’s imprisonment under a conditional sentence order and a prohibition order that prohibit her from owning, having custody or control of, or residing in the same premises as an animal or bird for ten years. The trial judge made an exception for her five cats and two dogs. The accused appealed.

The accused appealed on the basis of having “fresh evidence” and on the basis that her defence counsel was ineffective. The accused provided photographs of healthy animals (sheep and pigs) not owned by her, and pictures of her own animals for comparison. The accused submit that her property had been flooded and she was in the process of moving her animals and building new pens when the SPCA investigated. She claimed that aside from 2 underweight sows and one piglet with a broken leg, her animals were healthy. The BCSC did not accept this evidence as Crown and defence witnesses were extensively examined and cross-examined, and numerous photographs had been analyzed.

The BCSC concluded the trial judge had properly instructed the jury and sufficiently analyzed all evidence when sentencing the accused. The BCSC dismissed the appeal and upheld the trial judge’s sentence.

Note: Accused have been previously convicted of assault with a weapon (wooden spoon) against her special needs child.