We received the following letter written to Judge Marlene Graham after the November 2012 sentencing of Derick Collin Anderson who threw his girlfriend’s 11-week old Pomeranian puppy off a raised balcony and, because he didn’t die from the fall, proceeded to kick the puppy to death. Anderson then placed the puppy’s body in a recycling can and sent a series of texts to his girlfriend, Tamara Graham, telling her he’d killed their puppy, Cujo, and that the puppy’s eye popped out when he kicked him. The incident happened in September, 2010.
Saying that Anderson didn’t pose a significant enough threat to be locked up, the judge ordered him to serve a conditional jail sentence in the community of 10 months, which will include four months of house arrest followed by a curfew. Graham also ordered Anderson to seek treatment for a diagnosed mental illness, intermittent explosive disorder, which led him to attack Cujo, an 11-week-old Pomeranian pup.
Yes, an 11-week old puppy!
The Crown, represented by Prosecutor Gord Haight, had asked for a six- to eight-month jail sentence.
So if this doesn’t enrage you to the laxness in our animal cruelty laws, what does? Myrna Sentes, an animal welfare supporter wrote the following letter to the judge in response to this obvious miscarriage. To date, the judge has not responded.
December 1, 2012
The Honorable Judge Marlene Graham
Provincial Court of Alberta
601 – 5th Street S. W.
Calgary, AB T2P 5P7
Dear Judge Graham,
On Thursday, November 29, 2012, three members of the DAISY Foundation, Delegates Against Inhumane Suffering Y, were in court for the sentencing of Derick Collin Anderson, who threw his girlfriend’s 11-week old Pomeranian puppy off a raised balcony and because it didn’t die, he then proceeded to kick it to death.
On Friday, November 30th I watched The Fifth Estate on “Hunting Magnotta”. It was very disturbing however, Magnotta, as well as many animal abusers, eventually turn from killing animals to killing people. This is well documented and these people are very sick.
For this reason I cannot understand why time after time the crown in these abuse cases asks for jail time and it is denied by the court. It would seem to me if a proper deterrent were imposed, maybe some of the abuse could be stopped.
Bringing up Derick Anderson’s childhood was nothing more than an excuse: his parents split up; he was abused; he has some kind of disorder. Because of psychiatrists everyone nowadays has some kind of disorder or syndrome. My husband is bi-polar. We’ve been married for 44 years and he manages his mental illness with medication. He has never beat an animal, his wife or his children, who have grown up, gotten university degrees and are loving and responsible. A number of people I know have left abusive relationships, and have raised their own children to be responsible, healthy adults. They don’t make excuses for their past, they live for the future.
Derick Anderson blames his past, his girlfriend, and his financial problems but he takes no responsibility himself. He merely takes his frustration out on an innocent little puppy!
I question his conditional sentence and his supposed “house arrest”. He still can go to work, do his DJ job at night, get food, take anger management courses and see his psychiatrist. He can be out all day and nights, when he works his DJ job. In other words, he has the same kind of freedom as I do. What kind of deterrent is that?
I also don’t believe he is going to change living arrangements with his sister and move out of his mother’s house. Why would he? And his “explosive anger disorder” that he supposedly didn’t know about? There is a reason why he hasn’t seen his children for 11 years!
The animal abuse laws have supposedly changed but they haven’t changed in favour of the animals. Animals are still considered disposable and the courts aren’t doing enough to stop this abuse.
Anderson’s lawyer says he has to do community service; he has to “give back”. How do you give a puppy back his life?
So where do we go from here? If the crown can’t count on the court to take a stand on animal abuse, who will? Maybe we should impose a law that states whatever the abuser did to the animal, that’s what his punishment should be. Or maybe we should just take him out behind the barn and beat the shit out of him! I think that kind of deterrent worked better than any of the laws we have now.
Time and again we go to these abuse court cases only to come away disappointed and frustrated. How many animals have to die before someone takes responsibility and the responsibility, I feel, is with the court system.
Animal Welfare Supporter
cc: Heather Anderson, Founder, DAISY Foundation
KUDOS to this supporter! More people need to step up and speak against this kind of laxness in animal cruelty cases else we will never do right by our animal companions. As has been noted over and again, abuse against animals is a stepping stone to abuse against people. But beyond that, it is cruelty to a living being and should not be tolerated.
STEP UP! Be the voice for the voiceless!
reprinted from Calgary Herald
A 32-year-old Calgary man who threw his girlfriend’s puppy off a balcony, kicked it to death and sent her photos of the dead pet by text has been spared jail time.
Derick Colin Anderson was given a 10-month conditional sentence, a year of probation and 100 hours of community service.
Anderson is also banned from owning or living with animals and birds.
In handing down the sentence in court Thursday morning, Judge Marlene Graham said she took into account that Anderson has no previous criminal record, is willing to receive treatment for anger issues and suffers from a previously undiagnosed condition called intermittent explosive anger disorder.
The judge also noted that Anderson had a childhood fraught with physical and sexual abuse.
Anderson pleaded guilty last October to the Criminal Code charge of wilfully causing pain to an animal.
Anderson became enraged over finances and took his anger out on the 11-month-old puppy, called Cujo, after it soiled the couple’s rented home while his girlfriend was at work Sept, 24, 2010.
He remains in a relationship with the same girl, and lives in his mother’s basement.
Court earlier heard the accused was annoyed by the dog’s yipping and soiling, reached for it, and the dog snapped at him.
He threw the pet off the balcony, walked over and kicked it, then put the dead animal in a back alley recycling bin.
A necropsy concluded that the dog’s skull had been caved in and that severe blunt trauma caused the injuries.
A sentencing report written by forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Duska said a key aggravating factor to the case was the domestic element, in which Anderson blamed the situation on his girlfriend for getting a dog in the first place.
Duska found Anderson a moderate risk to reoffend.
The maximum penalty under the summary conviction is 18 months.
Crown prosecutor Gord Haight had sought a jail term of six to eight months.
Haight argued against a non-custodial sentence, saying it couldn’t be shown that Anderson could be safely returned to the community and that he did not meet the key requirements of deterrence and denunciation.
Defence lawyer Roy Shellnutt said his client has accepted responsibility for the act and that it is explained, although not excused, by the fact Anderson has since been diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder.
“I think it was an appropriate sentence. The judge looked at him and all his issues,” Shellnutt said outside court.
“He’s got to do some community service. He’s got to give back.”
An animal rights activist called the sentence too light.
“He’s a sick individual. He definitely needs help,” said Heather Anderson of the Daisy Foundation of Calgary, who attended the sentencing hearing.
Anderson had previously told court he took responsibility for his actions, and that they were sparked by stress and financial woes.
The manager of the Oromocto SPCA wants to see a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Debbie Andrews for her alleged negligence that left two dogs and a rabbit dead and a cat barely alive. You can read the article below from The Daily Gleaner for more.
We received the following letter today about a woman from New Brunswick against whom the Crown is expected to issue charges for the deaths of two dogs and a rabbit as well as the abuse of a dehydrated and starved cat who were in her care — at least until she went on vacation out of the country. Seems that maybe her vacation meant more to her than her responsibilities as a pet owner.
I have attached a news article from Friday’s paper about a woman who left New Brunswick to avoid being charged with animal abuse. She was living in Harvey Station, I believe it’s just outside of Fredericton.
Before she went on holidays to the Dominican Republic with her ten year old son, one of her dogs died. She just threw it in a garbage bag and left it in her back porch. She then went on holidays for TWO WEEKS and left behind a small black dog, a cat and a rabbit with no food or water. After six days the neighbours checked on her house since they didn’t see any activity and discovered the dog dead laying on the kitchen floor. They immediately called the RCMP who also found the rabbit dead left in a cage in the barn. Thankfully the cat survived, although just barely.
When she finally returned from her holidays she obviously found out she was wanted by the RCMP so she skipped town within hours of her return and moved to Alberta.
Not only does she think she got away with murder by moving away, what kind of message does this send to her ten year old son!!!
Just thought you might like to know you have another deadbeat animal abuser in Alberta and it will only be a matter of time before her son becomes an abuser as well.
The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation and the Calgary Animal Rights Effort are holding protests on the grassy area across from Stampede/Victoria Park LRT Station, MacLeod Tr. and 15 Av. S.E., Calgary on Saturday and Sunday at noon and 6:00 p.m.
Interviews can be conducted with Heather Anderson on Saturday and with Shannon Mann from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Sunday.
We will be continuing our campaign calling for abolishment of the calf roping event in the Calgary Stampede. We would like to publicly thank The Vancouver Humane Society for their involvement in this campaign.
We’d like to make it known we are not against the entire Calgary Stampede; we just want an end to rodeo and chuck wagon races. Our goal is to eliminate cruelty to animals.
Let the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede be the last year for animal cruelty. There’s lots of fun and entertainment to be had at the Calgary Stampede without exploiting animals by putting them at risk of injury and death.
Once again the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants to thank you, the media, for making the public aware.
The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants everyone to be aware that tomorrow, March 1, at 9 am Derrick Collin Anderson will be in Calgary Provincial Court. He has been charged with beating a Pomeranian puppy to death and will be sentenced tomorrow.
Once again the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants to thank you, the media, for making the public aware and for your continued support in our mission to change the laws to impose stricter penalties on those who choose to commit crimes of cruelty on animals.
Ted was Lorna and Ed’s son. Ben was Ted’s dog.
Ted adopted him from the pound after hearing about this big gentle guy from his boss. Ben had been at the pound for three weeks.
They were buddies. Ted trained Ben. They played together. And together, they climbed the nearby mountains in their spare time. They were best friends.
Until Ted passed away the year before Ben, succumbing to cancer.
So Ben became kind of a connection to Ted for Ted’s folks. They did not hesitate to give Ben all the love that Ben gave to Ted. After all, they were family.
Losing Ben — especially so needlessly, so senselessly and by such negligence as an illegal snare trap — makes the hole they already had in their hearts even larger.
I guess the best you can say of the situation right now is that somewhere out there, Ted and Ben are back together and hopefully doing all the things they so loved to do together.
But here on earth, this carelessness needs to be more accurately addressed. John McWilliams purposely and negligently set an illegal snare trap in a publicly accessible park that should not have been where it was. And by these actions, he killed Ben. Thirty feet from Lorna, Ben was strangled in such a way that he could not even cry out for help.
At trial today in Cochrane, a slap on the wrist was handed down by the judge in this case. The stakes were a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or two years in jail plus the loss of his hunting license. But the judge fined John McWilliams $300.
That illegal snare could have killed a child. An adult. WHAT would the penalty have been then? That snare should never have been where it was. It was set weeks before hunting season went into effect by McWilliams’ own admission. Snares are not even legal in that particular recreational area per regulations. This snare could have killed Lorna as she walked Ben.
And for such gross negligence, John McWilliams pays $300 and returns to trapping as he does?
If this does not anger you into working for stricter penalties, I do not know what will. Ben should be alive making big holes in Lorna and Ed’s front yard. He should be there for Sarah, his dog mate. He should have never been strangled in an illegal snare in a public recreational park.
My deepest sympathies to Lorna and Ed that justice was not adequately served today.
I am tearfully speechless at this seeming injustice. I am so disappointed that such dangerously reckless negligence results in only a $300 fine. We MUST push for stronger punishments for our animals.
It’s been a year since the poisoning of dogs last was news in Mirror. At that time, approximately 20 dogs were poisoned with a chemical typically used to kill gophers.
Over night last night, 14 dogs died from poisoning.
Calls starting coming in to the RCMP in Bashaw about 9:30 this morning and continued throughout the day. As of early Saturday evening, 13 deaths have been confirmed and a 14th is believed also to have been poisoned. All of the dead dogs were found in fenced-in yards or on their owner’s property.
It is thought that something the dogs ate contained an unknown substance. Toxicology reports from veterinarians to verify the substance are pending.
Please keep an eye on your dog(s) and do not leave them unattended in your yard.
Anyone with information or anyone who believes their dog has been poisoned is urged to call Constable Duek with the RCMP in Bashaw at (780) 372-3793.
Mirror is about 215 kilometres northeast of Calgary and about 66 kilometres East of Red Deer.
The following are a few of the symptoms of dog poisoning that you can look out for. A lot of these symptoms are quite similar to those in human poisoning, and some of them can be indicative of other conditions and ailments.
Some symptoms are extremely specific. For example, rat poison can prevent blood clotting which can mean that small injuries become quite serious, and if ingested it can cause internal bleeding which if not treated quickly enough can lead to death. Sometimes internal bleeding can be diagnosed by blood in the dog’s urine.
If your dog displays any of the symptoms of dog poisoning, you need to seek proper veterinarian treatment as soon as possible. The very first thing to do is call your vet and ask for advice. If your dog has been poisoned, there are things you can do to help, but it depends on exactly what he has eaten. For example, inducing vomiting can help the dog to clear out whatever is causing the problem and a mixture often used for this is made up of a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of milk.
You should never try to induce vomiting in cases of chemical poisoning such as cleaning products or gasoline or if the dog is in a stupor. In these cases trying to make the dog throw up can actually make it worse. Always at least ask your vet before trying something like this. It will be much easier if you know the exact cause, but even if you don’t, the vet will be able to tell you what to do.
Three men charged with the slaying of a wild, pregnant horse near Sundre were completely exonerated in provincial court Wednesday morning.
Crown prosecutor Gord Haight told court that new information disclosed by the defence has led him to “withdraw all charges” against Jason Nixon, the general manager at Mountain Aire Lodge, as well as against Earl Anderson and Gary Cape. Charges against Nixon’s 14-year-old son, Markus, are expected to be withdrawn shortly.
“I feel like an 800-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but I don’t think I will ever fully recover from this travesty of justice that has been perpetrated against me and my family,” said Nixon, 30, who was running the Mustard Seed Street Ministry’s program at the lodge near Sundre, where people battling addictions and homelessness can reform their lives and learn new skills by helping to run the lodge, restaurant, campgrounds and other businesses.
The new evidence revealed recently not only proves Nixon and the three co-accused are innocent of the heinous charges they were accused of, but has exposed the misconduct of the RCMP and its eagerness to believe an outrageous story dreamed up by David Goertz, a longtime crack and crystal meth addict seeking a $25,000 reward over the reputation of a law-abiding family man running a Christian ministry.
“This entire episode has been a complete nightmare for me and my family,” added Nixon, who was surrounded by his extended family, including his wife Tiffany, several of his five brothers and his father, Pat Nixon, an Order of Canada recipient and the founder and former longtime president of the Mustard Seed Street Ministry, until he was recently let go from his life’s work.
Nixon, Anderson and Cape, along with Nixon’s then 12-year-old son were charged in January 2010 with wilfully killing cattle and careless use of a firearm in connection with the death of a pregnant horse in April of 2009.
The story made the front pages of newspapers across Canada and even CNN. It led to Nixon and his co-accused receiving hate messages from across North America — including death threats against Nixon’s four-year-old twins — losing his job, his home and costing him $100,000 in legal bills that every member of his family and some friends have pitched in to help pay.
“And that’s just the superficial stuff,” explains Nixon.
New evidence brought forward by four hunters has exonerated Nixon, his son, Markus, Anderson and Cape — two former homeless men who had sobered up and worked at the lodge for some time.
One of those hunters is Justin Goodrich, 21, who along with his friends Peter, Adam and Noel came upon a dead horse lying in the middle of the road about one kilometre outside of Mountain Aire Lodge.
“It was the opening weekend of bear hunting season, almost two years ago exactly,” recalls Goodrich, an industrial firefighter who was reached at his work site north of Little Smoky, 330 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
“We were driving down the hill and we saw the horse was at the bottom of the cliff. It was really fresh. It was still warm and no rigor mortis had set in,” recalls Goodrich.
The avid outdoorsmen checked to make sure there were no bullet wounds in the horse, since there have been numerous shootings of wild horses in the area for 15 years, something The Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS) put out a $25,000 reward for, seeking information leading to a conviction in the case.
“The horse was pregnant,” said Goodrich who took a photo of the dead mare. “We think that maybe she tried to give birth, lost her footing and once you go down that cliff, there’s no going back, it’s a sheer fall.
“My buddy Adam is training to be a wildlife biologist and he decided to cut it open to try to save the baby, but it was too late or the fall killed the baby,” explains Goodrich.
The men then tried to move the horse off the road, but she was too heavy, so they inched her as close to the cliff wall as they could and drove off.
Goodrich isn’t sure of the time, but he thinks it was about 7:30 or 8 p.m. and that it would be getting dark soon.
Maybe half an hour to an hour later, Nixon, his then 12-year-old son, Markus, Anderson, Cape and David Goertz, a longtime drug addict and resident of the rehab program, were driving down the road. When they came around the corner they had to stop rather suddenly to avoid hitting the horse.
Goertz, who had relapsed back into drug use and was no longer living at the Lodge, later went to the RCMP saying that he witnessed Nixon shooting the horse, a story that is now viewed clearly as a fabrication, motivated by the $25,000 reward money.
“It was a really gruesome scene,” recalls Nixon, a gentle giant of a man who stands 6’8” with size 18 feet. “The insides of the horse were outside of its belly as well as a baby foal. It looked like the horse had blown up.
“We couldn’t understand what happened. We thought maybe because she was pregnant that she had burst when she fell off the cliff.”
Everyone in the vehicle recognized it would be too dangerous to leave the horse there, since there are no lights on the road and a driver might swerve to avoid the horse at the last second and drop off the far side of the narrow gravel road, which is a sheer vertical drop of about 30 metres.
“I sent two guys further up the hill to warn drivers to be careful.”
Nixon, Anderson and Markus, who was crying at the sight of the bloody scene, went back to the lodge to drop off the upset boy and get a Bobcat to push the horse down the cliff.
“Even knowing what I know now, how devastating this has been to my life and family, I would still have moved that horse,” explains Nixon, “because I never would have been able to live with myself if a truck full of kids died that night.”
Standing on the road Tuesday it’s clear that Nixon made the right choice. The road is narrow, unlit and the fall off the side is almost a completely vertical plunge.
About nine months after he moved the horse, Nixon was at his home on Mountain Aire property when he got a call from Anderson telling him he had just been arrested for “killing a cow.”
Nixon opened his front door and his home was surrounded by 10 RCMP officers from three different detachments, some with their guns drawn and some of whom he once considered close friends.
“One woman officer was swearing at me, telling me to ‘get down you big F-ing retard.’
“I was born with arrhythmia and I was very afraid they would Taser me, so I laid down on the ground.”
Nixon was handcuffed in front of his frightened children, then just two-years-old, driven the 40 minutes to the Sundre RCMP station and charged with unlawfully killing cattle.
One officer he knew quite well, whispered in his ear nodding toward RCMP officers from Didsbury and Edmonton and said, “‘if I were you I’d get a lawyer and not say a thing to these assholes.” Nixon heeded his advice.
Ironically, just weeks prior to his arrest, Nixon received a letter of commendation from the RCMP for the countless times Nixon and Mountain Aire Lodge (MAL) staff helped the RCMP and the community with search and rescue, first aid and dead animal removal.
“Since taking over MAL, The Mustard Seed has worked to revitalize the business, clean the property up, add services and ultimately bring tourists and further stability into the area,” wrote Sgt. Percy Leipnitz with the Sundre RCMP.
“MAL staff and clients have assisted in many important operations in our region over the past few years, and have contributed to making this district a better, safer one for those who live, work and visit the Forestry Reserve …” states the letter.
Willie deWit, Nixon’s lawyer said wrongful conviction inquiries have repeatedly shown how police get tunnel vision when they want to get a conviction at all cost.
“They start eliminating anything that goes against guilt and just take into consideration things that go toward guilt. We see that all the time and they don’t seem to be learning that lesson,” said deWit.
“You’d think, especially if you’ve got a person like Jason Nixon — a top-notch citizen — and then the guy against him is a crackhead that’s come forward to collect a reward, I mean, geez, right then you’d think the police would say, ‘hey, wait a minute,’” said deWit.
RCMP spokesperson, Sgt. Patrick Webb said Wednesday that the RCMP is investigating Goertz to “determine whether there was a deliberate attempt to accuse someone of something that never happened.”
Going into debt, having his reputation destroyed, having the ministry he built shut down, shattering Markus’ trust of police, losing his home and his job are not all the Nixon’s have lost.
“It’s deeper,” says Nixon. “Emotionally, I was a very trusting person prior to this, now I have troubles trusting outside of my family group. I used to view police very favourably, now I fear them.
“I feel humiliated. There were months where I didn’t feel I could walk around in town. Markus was teased in school.
“No matter what I do for the rest of my life, when people Google my name, its going to follow me the rest of my life. Once you’ve rung that bell you can’t unring it.”
But through it all, Nixon forgives Goertz and the others who have treated him so badly. On Good Friday he reflected on how his Lord, Jesus Christ was betrayed, wrongly accused, and crucified for the sins of others.
“I feel very betrayed and hurt by David (Goertz),” says Nixon. “I really showed him a lot of love, but that’s what addiction does. It’s so destructive,” he adds as he rubs the nose of his horse, Tank, on his rented acreage near Sundre.
“Through this all, I’ve really learned who my real friends are and just what a total, total blessing my family is and how important my faith is. Jesus never left my side. I know He has a plan for my life I just hope it doesn’t include this much pain. But we did the right thing that night. We may have saved some lives. That’s a comfort.”
Licia Corbella is a columnist and editorial page editor.
CALGARY — Three men accused of wrongfully shooting a pregnant wild horse near Sundre, Alta., two years ago felt vindicated Wednesday when the Crown dropped the charges in Calgary provincial court.
New evidence showed the mare never was shot, but likely died giving birth or in an accident, and was found dead on the side of the road — about 130 kilometres north of Calgary — by the three men: Jason Nixon, Gary Cape and Earl Anderson.
“I’m glad it’s over for me and my family. It’s all bittersweet, though. It’s not like it’s a great victory,” Nixon said outside court following the decision before Judge Harry Van Harten. “It’s the end of an extremely trying time.”
Nixon said the evidence the defence provided recently to the Crown prompted the RCMP to reinvestigate.
As a result of that, he said, they didn’t think charges were warranted anymore.
“What the evidence said was we never shot a horse, ever,” emphasized Nixon. “What happens was there was a horse . . . that had died on the road. It was a very dangerous spot. I was concerned it was shot and I had some of my staff move it into the ditch.”
Nixon said that nine months later, police surrounded his home and put him in jail. A youth also faces a similar charge, but it is expected the same thing will happen there.
Crown prosecutor Gord Haight would not elaborate on any of the evidence that prompted him to stay the charges.
He would only say: “There was not a reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
The three men had been scheduled for trial earlier this month, but it was adjourned when the defence revealed the new evidence.
“What happened was they came across a horse that either died in childbirth or had fallen off a hill there,” said Willie deWit, Nixon’s lawyer.
“When they came upon it, they looked to see if there was any evidence it had been shot. There was none, no bullet holes. So they ended up pushing it off the road, as it was a hazard. One of the people with them went to the police and said it had been shot. When in reality, it was never shot at all.”
He added it was several months before the horse was found and it was hard to make any determination what happened.
originally published by The Calgary Herald | reprinted from Global News