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.
CALGARY HERALD | MAY 5, 2010
By Deborah Tetley
Charges 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.”
CALGARY SUN | APRIL 19, 2010
By KEVIN MARTIN
Beating his wife, trying to strangle her dog with a noose and then spitting in a cop’s face has landed a Calgary man a seven-month jail term. But animal rights activists are applauding a secondary part of Bradley Kim Bergman’s punishment — a 10-year order that he have no pets.
Provincial court Judge Sean Dunnigan agreed with Crown prosecutor Gord Haight that Bergman’s conduct warranted at least a seven-month jail term.
Calling Bergman’s conduct “despicable,” Dunnigan said the admitted abuser still doesn’t understand the gravity of his actions.
“It appears … he does not see what he did to be any big deal,” Dunnigan said.
“Mr. Bergman seems to minimize his actions and excuse his criminal behaviour.”
The judge said Bergman’s attack on his common-law wife Denise Head’s pet Corgi, Buddy, was calculated to harm her further after he had repeatedly punched her.
“He intended her to suffer greatly,” Dunnigan said.
Bergman, 56, was angry at Buddy on March 1, 2009, for vomiting in their house and when he said he was going to “skin and gut” the animal, Head attempted to intervene.
When she did that he threatened to do the same to her before taking the dog to the garage and tightly tying a noose around its neck.
He also forced his way into a bathroom where Head had retreated for safety and to call police, before repeatedly punching her in the back.
When police arrived Bergman said he hoped the dog was already dead and spit into Const. David Grouchey’s face.
Police were able to save the animal, which was having trouble breathing.
Outside court, Haight said the 10-year pet ownership prohibition, under relatively new legislation, is the longest he’s seen in Calgary.
The penalty was applauded by a small group of animal lovers who had attended the sentencing.
Heather Anderson, of the DAISY Foundation, said she was pleased Bergman will have no control over any pet for the next decade.
“We’re really happy with the 10-year ban,” Anderson said.
“A 10-year ban is about as good as we’re going to get.”
She was also relieved to see that Bergman is going to jail.
“I’m glad he got some time I’m really happy about that, but it would’ve been nice (if it was) more time,” she said.
Along with jail, Dunnigan handed Bergman two year’s probation.
CALGARY SUN | APRIL 19, 2010
By KEVIN MARTIN
Blinding his pet dog by whacking it with a flashlight should land a Calgary man up to five months in jail, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
But the lawyer for Donald James Ainsworth said her client should be spared any jail, or at worst given a term which can be served on weekends.
Defence counsel Andrea Serink said other animal abuse cases, even those involving deaths, have resulted in punishments less than the three- to five-month term the Crown wants for her client.
“Denunciation and deterrence can be achieved in this case by your honour imposing a community-based sentence, or a sentence which can be served on an intermittent basis,” Serink told provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser.
But Crown prosecutor Gord Haight said other cases where lighter sentences were handed out occurred before Parliament upped the maximum penalty for cruelty to animals.
“Anything less than an actual jail sentence would be inconsistent with the fundamental principals of justice,” Haight said.
“Parliament has now tripled the maximum sentence when the Crown proceeds summarily,” he said.
Before the changes animal cruelty was always a summary crime with a maximum of six months, Haight noted.
Now if the Crown proceeds by indictment the highest jail term available is five years.
Haight said there were aggravating factors in Ainsworth’s March 13, 2009, attack on his miniature Doberman pinscher, Gucci, which has since been seized by the Humane Society.
Haight said Ainsworth grabbed Gucci by the neck and shook her before striking her on the head with a flashlight after the dog urinated in his truck.
Ainsworth didn’t take the dog for medical treatment until he asked a friend to do so the next day.
The prosecutor said the dog’s injured eye had to be surgically removed, although a Humane Society vet said immediate treatment may have saved it, Haight said.
“The most obvious aggravating factor here is the severity of the actions of the accused with respect to this animal,” he said.
“The accused admitted to not only striking the blow, but grabbing her by the neck and shaking her.”
A contrite Ainsworth told Fraser: “I am very, very sorry for what I have done to my pet, I’m very, very ashamed.”
Fraser will hand down a sentence on June 15.
Ainsworth remains at liberty until then.
CALGARY SUN | MARCH 18, 2010
By KEVIN MARTIN
Next time Calgary puppy killer Jacob Rabeau will take the bite and spare the dog, his lawyer said Thursday.
Defence counsel Willie de Wit said Rabeau overreacted when he clubbed to death a Husky pup that was barking at him, but has learned his lesson.
“My client told me ‘in the future I’ll take a bite over hitting a dog,’” de Wit told provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk.
Rabeau, 21, pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty in connection with the Aug. 2, 2007, death of Queensland resident Justin Kotulak’s four-month-old pet, Shea.
Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit said Rabeau was urinating in an alley behind Kotulak’s home when Shea approached in what two witnesses described as an excited state.
“The puppy approached the accused in this excited state and the accused believed the puppy was going to nip him, or bite at his legs,” Freiheit said.
“The accused finished urinating and ran to the back of his car with the puppy following him and continuing to bark,” she said, reading from an agreed statement of facts.
“The accused opened the rear, driver’s side door and removed a wooden object, either a two-by-four, or a bat.
“The accused swung the wooden object at the puppy, connecting once with the puppy’s skull,” she said.
Kotulak, noticing his dog had escaped the backyard, went looking for Shea and found him in a grassy area beside the alley.
“Kotulak picked up Shea and carried him into the backyard, where the puppy died in his arms,” said Freiheit, who is seeking a short jail term and up to 18 months probation.
De Wit said his client was initially concerned for his safety, but overreacted by using a piece of wood to strike the animal.
“He acted on instinct and he acted the wrong way,” de Wit said.
The lawyer suggested a conditional discharge, which would mean Rabeau would have no criminal record once he completed probation, would be appropriate.
Semenuk will sentence Rabeau May 7.
WILD HORSES OF ALBERTA SOCIETY | MARCH 1, 2010
Posted by Doreen on Monday, March 1st, 2010 at 8:21 pm.
Gary Cope, 35 has been added to the list of those charged with the shooting of a pregnant mare West of Sundre. Earl Anderson, Jason Nixon and a 13 year old boy, who cannot be named under the Young Offenders Act, were charged earlier this year. Jason Nixon has also been charged with uttering threats to a Fish and Wild Life Officer, interfering in an investigation and assaulting a witness. None of the accused showed up today, instead they reserved their plea until March 29th. The boy will be tried separately in a youth court.
It was good to see support coming from the Daisy Foundation’s, Heather Anderson and her team. The foundation was created after the horrific case of animal abuse of a female dog named Daisy Duke who’s legs were bound together and then was dragged behind a vehicle. Daisy Duke was later humanely euthanized by a veterinarian. The Foundation is wanting stiffer penalties for animal abusers and are looking for support of bill C373 see link below for details. http://www2.parl.gc.ca/content/hoc/Bills/391/Private/C-373/C-373_1/C-373_1.PDF
Check out their website at http://www.daisyfoundation.ca/
I was pleased to see the Daisy Foundation there, and felt quite comforted by their presence. Collectively, animal advocates everywhere could create a much more powerful voice for all animals, if groups such as ours, all banded together in that which is ultimately a common goal. That goal is to protect every species of animal from abuse, neglect and an untimely death at the hands of man. Thanks again Daisy Foundation. Keep up the good work. See you on the 29th.
Thank you as well to Carol Srvcek and her partner Alan Hardy of Calgary, who are long term WHOAS members and good friends of ours. They met me first thing this morning in the parking lot of the provincial court house in Didsbury, and Carol proudly held up the WHOAS banner with me later on. As well, thank you Judy Becker of Calgary, who was there showing support with her grandson Wilder. Judy has a mini sanctuary which houses three wild horses that were rescued in January 09. The mare and her two fillies are making remarkable progress in Judy’s care. They were with 10 other wild horses rescued, which other wise were headed to the slaughter plant.
On a lighter note, tomorrow is a big day, I will ride Wyley for the first time under the tutelege of Mary. We will bring the much mellower wildie gelding home in mid March once I get a few riding lessons under my belt. Judy will be filming this hopefully noneventful, event and perhaps will it be posted on this site if all goes well. Wish me Luck, although I am sure I won’t need it. (nervous lol).
See link below to view CTV News footage of today’s court hearing.
CALGARY HERALD | FEBRUARY 10, 2010
BY DARYL SLADE
Animals rights activists showed up Tuesday at the Calgary Courts Centre as judges dealt with three cases of dog abuse in which animals were hanged, beaten to death and had eyes gouged.
“It’s really bad when in one day there are three cases on the court dockets in one city,” Heather Anderson, founder of DAISY (Delegates Against Inhuman Suffering Y?), said outside court.
“If the public sees these people are getting more than a slap on the wrist, they’ll quit doing it. The general public doesn’t realize how many cases there really are, yet only a very small percentage even make it to court.”
Bradley Kim Bergman, 56, faces jail time after pleading guilty to assaulting his common-law wife, who tried to stop him from hanging her dog after the pet vomited in their house. Bergman also admitted to the animal abuse charges and spitting in the face of a police officer who answered the domestic call for help.
“The assault against Ms. (Denise) Head . . . no doubt induced a fair amount of terror,” Crown prosecutor Gord Haight argued in seeking a sentence of seven to 10 months.
Lawyer Patrick Flynn said his client suffered from depression and is on medication to control his anger.
“This man, for many reasons, has not been treated properly (medically),” said Flynn.
Court previously heard Bergman told Head after her six-year-old dog Buddy vomited: “I’m going to show you I can skin and gut a dog.”
The woman stepped in front of Bergman, who took the dog out to the garage and tied a noose around its neck.
Head called police and an officer had to cut the rope to save the dog’s life. Const. David Grouchey asked Bergman about the dog and Bergman said he hoped it was dead by now, then spit in the officer’s face.
The dog has since been adopted.
The case will be back in court on Friday to set a date for sentencing.
Michael Rabeau, charged with the beating death of a puppy, had his case adjourned until today to set a trial date. He had pleaded guilty but changed back to not guilty.
Donald Ainsworth pleaded guilty to a similar charge of animal abuse, and had his case adjourned until Feb. 17. He is charged with inflicting severe eye injuries to a dog named Gucci.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
CTV CALGARY | FEBRUARY 9, 2010
Three separate cases involving animal cruelty were before the courts in Calgary on Tuesday.
One of the cases involved Bradley Bergman. The 56-year-old plead guilty to tying a noose around the neck of his girlfriend’s dog and threatening to hand and gut the animal.
While the cases were going on inside, The Daisy Foundation held a demonstration outside. “As far as the law goes, because this was his property, he’s probably going to get away with it, because of the property law in Canada – that animals are considered property – which is ridiculous,” says Heather Anderson, a member of the animal rights group.
Also in court on Tuesday was Donald Ainsworth. He pled guilty to animal cruelty for beating his dog with a flashlight – an assault that left the animal blind in one eye.
The third case involved a man accused of beating to death a four-month-old puppy. This case has been set over.
“It just goes to show how many cases are really happening in this county. And when you consider these are the cases going to court, what about the ones that didn’t have enough evidence,” says Anderson.
The Daisy Foundation says changes are needed to Canadian law so animal abusers are given stiffer sentences. The group is lobbying the federal government to pass Bill C-229.
CALGARY SUN | NOVEMBER 30, 2009
The search for the person who savagely beat a three-month-old puppy was thrown a $9,400 treat by a donor furious over the assault.
The donation to the animal advocate Daisy Foundation brings the total bounty for information leading to the conviction of the animal abuser to at least $10,500, said the group’s founder, Heather Anderson.
“We were hoping it would go to $1,000, then this,” said Anderson, adding the anonymous donor owns two dogs.
“He’s obviously an animal lover and he was obviously mad about it.”
On Nov. 3, the bloodied, emaciated and unconscious Doberman pup was found in the parking lot of the Calgary North Veterinary Hospital at 4202 4 St. N.W.
Among the wounds suffered by the dog nicknamed Mike was a broken left foreleg and head injuries. But after surgery, the animal is recovering well, say Calgary Humane Society officials.
Henderson said news of the donation — given Thursday — has already made a difference in the investigation.
“We had more leads this morning than we had when the fund was at $600,” she said.
Even if the reward is claimed, Henderson said the foundation is determined to create a permanent cash pool for such cases.
And unless Canadians press politicians to increase the penalties for animal abuse, such donations will continue to be needed, she said.
“Even we get a conviction for this guy, he’ll just get a slap on the wrist,” she said.
Anyone with information that can lead to the name of the dog’s owner is urged to call the Calgary Humane Society at 403-723-6038.
CALGARY HERALD – NOVEMBER 14, 2009
A local foundation is offering a $10,500 reward for information that identifies the person who injured a three-month-old Doberman puppy that was abandoned at the Calgary North Vet Clinic.
The pup was discovered covered in blood in the clinic parking lot on Nov. 3. It wasn’t expected to survive its injuries, but after surgery, it’s recovering.
Calgary Humane Society investigators are looking into who is responsible for the suspected case of animal abuse. The DAISY Foundation is hoping its reward for information leading to an arrest will help.
“I really think we’re going to get an arrest because of this (reward),” said Heather Anderson, who formed the group two years ago after a dog named Daisy Duke was killed by his teenage owner and a friend in Didsbury.
The foundation received several small donations before an anonymous Calgarian contacted them to contribute $9,600 towards the reward.