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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