Fine in cat killing

NADIA MOHARIB | Calgary Sun

Delivering a deadly kick to a young cat earned a Calgary man a fine of $1,800 [plus $270 for the victim fine surcharge], community service and a two-year ban on owning animals.

But in a joint submission, Darren Ronald Lesy was given an exception to see the golden retriever, named Harley, allowed to live with him and his wife although the dog’s care and control will be the responsibility of his spouse.

Lesy, who was 23 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance and was sentenced Wednesday.

In the April 27, 2007, attack, the cat named Sage died after being kicked in the head.

Court heard Lesy was angry at the cat’s inability to control her bowels – after bathing Sage, he discovered fecal matter on her fur prompting him to launch his violent attack.

He had bathed the cat after she urinated inside a Rosehill Dr. N.W. home.

He took Sage to the vet but it was too late for viable resuscitation efforts and the two-year-old cat died of trauma to the upper cervical spinal cord.

Lesy pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge.

Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit said such cases typically lead to jail terms but this case has several mitigating factors including Lesy having no prior criminal record, taking the cat to a vet, pleading guilty and taking it upon himself to get counselling.

While she said “he meant to kick the cat … he didn’t mean to kill her.” She said it was a “one-blow situation with a quick death.”

In addition to the hefty fine, he faces six months probation, must do 50 hours community service, and, other than the exception for Harley, is prohibited from owing an animal for two years.

Judge Gerry Meaher, who is bound to accept the joint submission by the Crown and Lesy’s lawyer David Mohr unless he felt it was unreasonable, said it was fitting.

“This was not intentional,” he told the court.

“It was very reckless with very unfortunate consequences.” Brad Nichol, an animal protection investigator at the Calgary Humane Society, said the sentence was acceptable.

“It was a violent act and incarceration was certainly on the table,” he said outside court.

“I agree, there were mitigating factors. I don’t think he is the picture of the accused we usually see, it was a bad decision.” He said it is not unusual to see existing animals allowed by the courts to stay in a home where someone convicted of such a crime lives and “time will tell,” whether Harley-the-dog is at any risk of similar abuse.

“Past behaviour can be a predictor of future behaviour,” Nichols said.

“Time will tell.”

A group of animal rights activists, including some with young children, were in the court – a mainstay at most cases before the courts involving animal cruelty.

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