Feces led owner to fatally kick cat

Feces led owner to fatally kick cat

CALGARY SUN | MAY 21, 2010
By KEVIN MARTIN

Anger over his cat’s inability to control its bowels led a Calgary man to fatally kick the feline, a court heard Monday.

Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit said Darren Ronald Lesy kicked his and his girlfriend’s pet, Sage, two, after bathing the animal the morning of Aug. 27, 2007, and discovering fecal matter on her.

“I’m not sure whether the cat defecated at that point, or had feces on it,” Freiheit told provincial court Judge Gerry Meagher.

Freiheit said Lesy was bathing the cat after it had urinated inside their Rosehill Dr. N.W. residence.

“Mr. Lesy saw the fecal matter, became mad and kicked at the cat,” she said.

“The kick made contact with the cat’s head.”

Freiheit said although Lesy kicked at the animal, he didn’t intend to kill Sage.

“It’s not the Crown’s position that Mr. Lesy intended to cause the death of the cat,” she said.

Freiheit said Lesy reported the animal at first seemed okay, but her condition began to deteriorate and he rushed the feline to a veterinary hospital.

“The cat at that point was already dead,” she said, adding a vet made an unsuccessful attempt to revive the pet.

“The cause of death was trauma to the upper cervical spinal cord,” Freiheit said.

Lesy, 25, pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge of causing damage or pain to an animal through willful neglect.

The offence at the time carried a maximum sentence of six months.

While more recent legislation has increased the maximum to two years, Lesy is entitled to be sentenced under the Criminal Code as it was in 2007.

At defence lawyer David Mohr’s request, Meagher ordered a presentence report be prepared by probation.

Lesy, who remains at liberty, returns to court on Aug. 4, when sentencing submissions will be made.

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No criminal record for Calgary man who beat puppy to death

No criminal record for Calgary man who beat puppy to death

CALGARY HERALD | MAY 7, 2010
By Daryl Slade

CALGARY – A 21-year-old city man will not have a criminal record for beating a four-month-old husky puppy to death with a piece of wood, if he successfully completes a year of probation.

Provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk, in imposing the conditional discharge on Jacob Michael Rabeau on Friday, said although hitting the dog was unnecessary, “the offence was impulsive.”

Semenuk noted that Rabeau was in fear of the dog, Shea, when it came at him early on the morning of Aug. 2, 2007, as he stopped to urinate in an alley in the southeast community of Queensland. But he also admitted he overreacted.

“Even if he had a bona fide fear of the dog while urinating, he could have simply got into his vehicle and driven away,” Semenuk said in his decision.

Rabeau previously pleaded guilty to causing the dog’s death. He must pay $800 restitution to the owner, Justin Kotulak, and $250 to the Calgary Humane Society. He also must take counselling for anger management.

Willie deWit, Rabeau’s lawyer, said outside court his client was relieved. “This has been hanging over his head for a number of years. It certainly has been a drain on him,” deWit said.

“Of course, he feels badly. He still has to deal with probation and counselling, but he’s glad to get it behind him and move on.

“Certainly, this happened on the spur of the moment. As he said, he’d rather take a bite now than react like that.”

Court heard the dog, which weighed no more than 4.5 kilograms, had escaped from its yard after owner Justin Kotulak let it out into the yard late at night.

When the dog came towards Rabeau, he retreated to his car, grabbed a 2-by-4 or baseball bat and struck the dog on the head.

Heather Anderson, founder of animal rights group DAISY (Delegates Against Inhumane Suffering Y), said she was extremely disappointed with the sentence.

“It’s the worst slap on the wrist I’ve seen,” she said outside court. “He deliberately killed this dog . . . and robbed this family of a lot of years of love from this dog.

“What is $800 when you lose a family member. Kids have to suffer and they blame themselves for letting the dog loose in the first place.”

Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit, who had sought 21 to 30 days jail, said she was surprised by the sentence, but would have to review the judge’s written decision before deciding whether to appeal.

“It’s been very tricky, because there is this explanation that he acted out of fear. It’s hard for someone to prove what’s in someone’s mind,” Freiheit said.

“You normally have to look at their actions. In this case we’ve got a man who says, ‘I love dogs, I’ve had pets.’ I can’t dispute that he was afraid. To me, it’s a bit strange to be afraid of a four-month-old husky puppy, if you’ve had that experience with dogs. But we can only prove what people saw and the evidence that was there.”

Court heard Kotulak had let Shea out into the backyard shortly before the incident and he managed to escape. When Kotulak discovered his dog was missing and went to the alley to look, he approached a vehicle with several occupants and heard one voice say “we just killed it.”

The owner then discovered the puppy, which had severe head trauma, was bleeding from the ears and started convulsing. The car then drove away.

Kotulak then picked up Shea and carried him to the backyard, where the puppy died in his arms.

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Woman charged with animal neglect over injured, abandoned Doberman pup

Woman charged with animal neglect over injured, abandoned Doberman pup

CALGARY HERALD | MAY 5, 2010
By Deborah Tetley

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary HeraldCharges have been laid against a woman six months after a Doberman puppy was found critically injured and abandoned in a blood-covered kennel outside a vet hospital.

The woman faces one Criminal Code charge of abandonment or wilful neglect of an animal in distress. She has also been charged under the Animal Protection Act of Alberta with causing or permitting an animal in her care to be in distress, Calgary Humane Society officials said Tuesday.

“Public support for this puppy was incredible,” said executive director Patricia Cameron. “Our animal protection investigators did a huge amount of work on this case and it truly demonstrated that Calgarians will not stand for animal abuse and cruelty or neglect.”

The dog, which is now eight months old, has been renamed Mike by the foster family who has been caring for him since he was found last November in the parking lot of Calgary North Veterinary Hospital.

He was underweight, dehydrated, had a broken leg, a head injury and required surgeries. At the time, officials said he’d been abused.

Since then, he’s made a remarkable recovery, Cameron said.

“Despite what was clearly a horrible ordeal, Mike is still ready to trust, to love and to enjoy life,” she said.

A Criminal Code conviction could mean a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a $5,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals, the humane society said.

Cynthia Guan, 22, of Calgary, is to appear in court May 27.

The founder of the DAISY Foundation, which received a donation to put up a $10,500 reward for information leading to an arrest, said she’s happy someone has been charged.

“This case was sad,” said Heather Anderson. “I am excited about the arrest and hopeful the evidence sticks.”

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