Adjournment in Sundre horse killing case

Adjournment in Sundre horse killing case

DARYL SLADE | POSTMEDIA NEWS – APRIL 4, 2011

Man accused of shooting wild horse says he will be exonerated

Trial for three men should begin Tuesday in Calgary

Dead mare


CALGARY — One of three men accused of illegally shooting a feral horse near Sundre in 2009 said Monday he’s confident he will be exonerated.

“We’re happy to finally get our chance in court,” Jason Nixon said outside court after the opening of trial was delayed for a day. “I haven’t done anything wrong. We’ll have to wait for the process to play itself out. All I can say is I didn’t do this, what we’re accused of, and we’ll have to wait for the evidence to unfold.”

Nixon, 30, Gary Cape, 36, and Earl Anderson, 41, each face charges of wilfully killing a horse and careless use of a firearm.

The three men, along with a youth who cannot be named, were charged early last year after the feral horse was shot near Sundre. about 140 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

All three men previously entered not guilty pleas to the charges in Didsbury provincial court. The scheduled four-day trial for the three men was later moved to Calgary.

Provincial court Judge Cheryl Daniel agreed to adjourn the trial for the day after the three men’s lawyers and Crown prosecutor Gord Haight discussed new disclosure that was recently turned over from the RCMP.

The case will go more efficiently if there is a brief adjournment, Don MacLeod, lawyer for Anderson, said outside court.

“This results from late disclosure to the Crown, then in turn to all defence counsel,” said MacLeod. “That gave rise to some issues about further disclosure that we all wanted to have a look at before we cross-examine witnesses in the case.

“(It involves) some emails between witnesses or potential witnesses and potentially further communication that may or may not have taken place between the police and another potential witness that we all — Crown and three defence counsel — want to take a look at.”

MacLeod said in dealing with other issues, it was also determined there was a gap in photographic evidence relating to the scene in general that all counsel felt would be of great assistance to the court in what happens in the case.

The lawyer, however, said as the case is before the courts he could not elaborate on any of the issues or evidence.

The case, he expects, should proceed on Tuesday.

Previously, Nixon’s lawyer, Willie deWit, said he believes his client has a viable defence to the charges, but declined to say what his strategy at trial would be.

“There’s a lot more to the story than has come out so far,” said deWit.

A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named, is facing the same two Criminal Code charges as the adults. He also pleaded not guilty to the same charges.

Nixon and Anderson have ties to the Mustard Seed Street Ministry, which operates the Mountain Aire Lodge facility west of Sundre.

The lodge provides outreach to formerly homeless men and women.

RCMP have been investigating the deaths of at least 13 wild horses around Sundre since 2007.


reprinted from Calgary Herald


Woman allowed injured cat’s leg to fall off

Woman allowed injured cat’s leg to fall off

CALGARY SUN | OCTOBER 26, 2010
By Kevin Martin

Leaving her elderly cat’s broken leg untreated for months, until it became gangrenous and fell off, has landed a Calgary woman a $2,000 fine.

And provincial court Judge Bruce Millar on Thursday also slapped Marlene Payne with a lifetime ban on owning pets, despite a Crown request for only a five-year prohibition.

“It seems simple to me that if people can’t look after, or care for a pet, they shouldn’t be pet owners,” Millar said. “In my view you should never own a pet again so there will be a lifetime prohibition.”

Payne, 57, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Animal Protection Act of allowing an animal to suffer, in this case her cat, Simonne.

Crown prosecutor Gord Haight said Payne first brought the feline to a veterinary clinic on July 18, 2009, suffering a leg injury.

She was told by staff the animal likely had a broken leg, but there was no technician present to do an x-ray and she should make an appointment to have it checked later, said Haight.

But Payne never got the injury checked, misunderstanding the instructions and believing the cat’s diagnosis of untreatable diabetes was the greater concern, he said.

But by March 3, of this year the injury had become so badly infected Payne brought the pet in for further treatment and it had to be euthanized, said Haight.

“The cat was in poor body condition, but most significantly was missing its right hind leg,” Haight told Millar.

He said the untreated broken leg from eight months earlier had “become gangrenous and fallen off.”

Defence lawyer Danusia Bourdon, who agreed to speak for the unrepresented Payne, said the city woman believed the diabetes diagnosis on her earlier visit was the greatest concern.

“She understood that the vet’s main concern was not the leg injury, but the diabetes,” said Bourdon, adding the 18-year-old feline was considered a family member.

Payne was told that at that age it would be useless to treat the diabetes with insulin and believed the lost limb was as a result of the disease.

“Looking back now Ms. Payne recognizes that she could and should have gone to a vet sooner.”

Outside court, DAISY Foundation spokeswoman Heather Anderson applauded Millar’s decision to hand Payne a lifetime ban on owning pets. “A leg falling off, that’s not just an abscess that wasn’t taken care of,” Anderson said.

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Dog owner jailed for animal cruelty

Dog owner jailed for animal cruelty

CALGARY HERALD — SEPTEMBER 29, 2010

A pet owner is going to jail for 30 days after flying into an uncontrollable rage when he returned home to find his seven-month-old German shepherd had damaged some furniture.

“What started out as disciplining the dog turned into physical abuse,” Crown prosecutor Gord Haight told court Tuesday after Thomas James Norman, 23, pleaded guilty to causing pain and suffering to the dog, Aurora.

“The dog was beaten to the point it ultimately fractured its femur — one of its legs — and suffered internal injuries, including a bleeding liver,” said Haight.

The prosecutor said once it was clear to Norman and his common-law wife that the dog had suffered significant injuries on July 15, 2008, they took it to the vet.

He said they couldn’t afford treatment, so they surrendered the dog to the Calgary Humane Society.

Norman has been prohibited from owning or possessing animals for two years.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/owner+jailed+animal+cruelty/3594752/story.html#ixzz13R4Nh6Fg

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House arrest for beating dog

House arrest for beating dog

By KEVIN MARTIN, CALGARY SUN — JUNE 16, 2010
Bashing his dog in the head with a flashlight, which led to the animal losing an eye, has landed a Calgary man nine months of house arrest.

Provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser on Tuesday said Donald James Ainsworth poses no danger to the public, so a conditional sentence was warranted.

Fraser said barring Ainsworth from being around pets for five years would alleviate any concern he poses a risk.

He said the term behind bars sought by Crown prosecutor Gord Haight wasn’t necessary, noting Ainsworth had no prior criminal history.

“The court … must be satisfied that he would not be a danger to the community,” the judge said in citing one of the pre-conditions for considering a conditional sentence order.

“The offender has no criminal record, is 46 years of age, and if prohibited from having the custody or control of an animal … he could not be said to be a risk to the community.”

Ainsworth earlier pleaded guilty to wilfully permitting his dog to be caused unnecessary pain or suffering in connection with a March 14, 2009, incident.

Ainsworth became angry at his miniature Doberman pinscher, Gucci, when she urinated in his truck.

He grabbed Gucci by the neck and shook her before striking her on the head with a flashlight.

The animal ran under some shelving and Ainsworth was unable to get the animal out.

He went to bed, awakening the next morning to find his injured pet beside him.

Ainsworth eventually had a friend take the dog to the humane society, where a vet determined its injured eye would have to be removed.

Fraser agreed with defence lawyer Andrea Serink a jail term in the three- to five-month range sought by Haight wasn’t needed.

Outside court, animal activist Heather Anderson said Ainsworth’s five-year ban from having pets was a positive step.

“I wish it was a lifetime ban, but five years is better than two years,” she said.

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Jail urged for dog abuser

Jail urged for dog abuser

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.

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