Fine in cat killing

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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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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Dog killer says he wouldn’t do it again

Dog killer says he wouldn’t do it again

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.

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