UK lawyer responds to B.C.’s new animal protection legislation

UK lawyer responds to B.C.’s new animal protection legislation

In a letter to Sarah West, Founder and President of CFAWR — Canadians For Animal Welfare Reform, Peter Collins, a UK lawyer involved with charities and the media, applauds B.C.’s changes to its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including increasing penalties to as much as $75,000 and as long as 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences. These changes come in the wake of the mass slaughter of sled dogs near Whistler last April 2010, Premier Christy Clark said.

Dear Madam,

As a lawyer in the UK involved with charities and the media, I was delighted to read your comments about the need to strengthen animal cruelty laws, a pleasant contrast to the dreadful publicity Canada usually receives due its abject failure to protect its animals. I hope you will also consider the following wider aspect when dealing with the legislation as it impacts upon people too.

There is huge evidence now that people/children who abuse and torture animals usually go on to abuse other people/children so it is vital that such people are properly punished, the punishments publicised widely, and put on an Animal Abusers Register, not only to protect animals but to protect children in the future. Parents of children who abuse animals need to be called to account for their feral offspring’s actions. Such cases of animal torture are on the increase, which means that violence to other people and children will escalate too. There is of course also an undeniable link between animal cruelty and domestic violence against women too.

Punishments meted out are usually pathetically lenient and many police forces fail to take it seriously leaving people and animals at risk in the future. This is not what your voters expect from its judicial system. It is very damaging to a country’s reputation if they fail to stamp this out.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. If caught early in the violence cycle, perpetrators would be charged, arrested and dealt with before their violence escalates. Many serial killers, for example, have been documented as animal abusers and killers in their youth.

There is evidence now that people even witnessing violence towards animals (eg spectators of dog fighting,) often are shown to become violent towards other people, and for this reason the main TV station in Madrid have actually banned the broadcasting of bull fighting for this reason.

The latest indication of waning tolerance for the cruelty of bullfighting is the recent announcement by a Spanish broadcaster who is refusing to air bullfights on television, citing children as the reason for the ban. According to a New York Times article, the state broadcaster, RTVE, said Saturday that it would not broadcast bullfights due to the risk of exposing children to violence against animals.

Furthermore, with dog fighting, the dogs cause a severe danger to people as well. There have been thousands of cases all over the world where people, especially children, have been severely injured and killed by dogs trained to fight.

I wish you all the very best for what you are trying to do, and desperately hope you involve all of your Canada’s key governmental figures in the issue of animal welfare, namely to create and enforce strong animal welfare protection laws with proper penalties to protect domestic, farm and wild animals because through the media and internet all issues of animal suffering are discovered and publicised universally and millions of people all over the world, including my many Canadian friends, care deeply about animal welfare issues, as evidenced by the huge membership and wealth of many animal charities, and are connected on the internet, for example on social networking sites, and do not hesitate boycotting, and arranging boycotts, of tourism to countries, and a country’s goods, if it fails to protect its animals, and such boycotts have been very successful can cause severe damage at a time of economic crisis.

I know Canadian embassies all over the world have stated they receive more criticism on this than any other issue, and costs Canadian taxpayers millions every year. And look at the EU-wide ban on Canadian seal products!

Very best wishes.

Peter Collins

Our kudos to B.C., too!


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


April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd vigil for the Sled dogs of WhistlerWe are a movement that has spread across Canada and other parts of the globe to not only honor the sled dogs on the anniversary of their death, but to also bring awareness and opportunity for legislative change.

We hope for 100 cities, 1 for each sled dog executed!

In Canada, at each city, petitions for Mark Holland’s Bill C-229 will be signed in an effort to advance laws that will provide greater stronger animal cruelty legislation. Our goal is 1 million signatures!

We can make a difference but only as a united front!

Come join us and organize a Vigil on April 23rd in your community now!

More info regarding the vigils

Important! If you have any questions not covered by the notes below, please send an email to (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

1. If you are interested in seeing if a city has a vigil planned already, and would like more info, to attend or to help, please go to this link, or send an email to Crystal or Julia at (Enable Javascript to see the email address), or comment on this page.

2. If you would like information on how to hold a Vigil, please see this note.

3. If you would like information on how to do a Guerrilla walk (a spontaneous gathering or for those who are having trouble obtaining permits, etc. if so required by your city), please see this note.

4. If you would like to have a history on the Sled Dog Massacre, and why we are holding these vigils, please see this note. It contains news links and other pertinent information about Canadian Animal Cruelty Legislation. Some information is graphic, so please be prepared.

5. If you would like information on Bill C-229 Animal Cruelty Legislation, please see this note.

If you would like to see anything else not covered by these links, or would like to see all the notes we have, please go here: all Vigil Notes


Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

B.C. toughens animal cruelty laws after sled dog cull

GLOBAL NEWS  | APRIL 5, 2011

BC toughens animal cruelty legislation after sled dog massacre


VANCOUVER — British Columbia announced Tuesday that it is acting on all of the recommendations of its Sled Dog Task Force, including providing new funding for animal-cruelty investigations and introducing the toughest animal-protection laws anywhere in Canada.

The province will change its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including increasing penalties to as much as $75,000 and as long as 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences, in the wake of a mass slaughter of sled dogs near Whistler last April, Premier Christy Clark said.

The task force was appointed in February after news broke that an employee of a sled dog company in Whistler, B.C., had killed as many as 100 dogs over a period of two days last year.

The dogs, owned by Outdoor Adventures Whistler, were killed by Robert Fawcett in April 2010.

The killings came to light after Fawcett filed a WorkSafeBC report claiming post-traumatic stress from the shootings.

The WorkSafeBC report, obtained by the media, details how Fawcett shot, stabbed and bludgeoned the animals to death after he was apparently told by his employer to cull some of the company’s 300 dogs.

The revelation led to an international condemnation of Fawcett’s actions as well as death threats against Fawcett and other Outdoor Adventures Whistler employees.

The province said Tuesday it will extend the current six-month limitation period for prosecuting offences and requiring mandatory reporting of animal abuse by veterinarians.

The BC SPCA has also received a $100,000 grant to enhance its their capacity for animal cruelty investigations, Clark said in a news release.

A joint RCMP and SPCA probe into the dogs’ deaths will resume once the winter snow melts.

Sled dog  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck



reprinted from Global News
Similar stories:
B.C. to toughen animal laws after sled dog slaughter from The Canadian Press


Alleged horse killers on trial in Calgary

Alleged horse killers on trial in Calgary

Tipster’s presence in court adds to intrigue

KEVIN LIBIN | NATIONAL POST · APRIL 5, 2011
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You could see a blood trail. [The horse] was upside down with his head wedged between two trees.

LEAH HENNEL / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILES


LEAH HENNEL / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILESChuck Kollin had come to courtroom 1405 in Calgary on Monday morning just looking, he says, to finish what he’d started. He had planted himself quietly, anonymously — he thought — among the spectators for a trial of three men accused of being heartless killers whose alleged crime had shocked the province. Mr. Kollin figured he’d just be a fly on the wall. Mr. Kollin was wrong.

He was spotted from the start. The RCMP officer investigating the case saw him. The defence lawyer wanted to talk to him. The trial was stopped before it began. This changed everything, the attorneys told Judge Cheryl Daniel.This was the man who had first tipped police to the information that had led to the arrest of these three men, along with a 13 year-old boy.

Mr. Kollin says he was told, through hearsay that hasn’t been proven in court, that the boy cried after the killings, and was told to shrug it off. This was, the boy was reportedly told, no different than killing gophers.

But this was different. These were Alberta’s iconic wild horses.

A lot of Albertans are proud of their wild horse herds; romantic about them, even if no one’s certain where they came from. The Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS) suspects they’re the descendants of mustangs sailed to the new world by Spanish conquistadors and brought north by Blackfoot Indians. The government’s position is that they likely just escaped from ranches and farms over generations. Either way, when they started turning up shot, left to die brutal, agonizing deaths near the side of the highway, a lot of Albertans were as outraged as they were heartbroken.

It didn’t matter that, legally, the province considers wild horses no more valuable than cattle. They can be captured, legally, with permission, and sold to slaughter. Alberta grants about 20 such permits a year, one reason why WHOAS estimates that the number of feral horses has fallen from 1,000 in the mid1980s to an estimated 200 or 300 today.

The other is that someone has been shooting them, illegally. About 30 were picked off between 2001 and 2009. They likely weren’t all connected, says Bob Henderson, president of WHOAS.

The horses aren’t universally popular: The odd shooting may be some farmer or rancher cranky over them eating up grazing land meant for cattle.

“I still get emails from individuals saying the horses should be shot like Norway rats,” Mr. Henderson says. “We still run into that attitude.”

But as a retired police officer, he thinks the 13 killed near Sundre, Alta., between 2007 and 2009 are linked.

In 2009, Crime Stoppers reenacted the shootings hoping to generate leads. The wild horses society also put out a reward, which, with the help of private donors, grew to nearly $29,000.

Last January, RCMP announced a break in the case, charging three men, along with the boy. One of the accused was Jason Nixon.

This ramped up the story’s local shock value. Jason is the son of Pat Nixon, the founder of Calgary’s Mustard Seed ministry, one of the city’s most celebrated homeless outreach programs.

The Mustard Seed runs the Mountain-Aire lodge near Sundre, a retreat for people battling addictions, where recovery involves pitching in at the local businesses run by the lodge, including a restaurant and campground, and providing security and firewood to some of the other neighbouring resorts and ranches, set in the picturesque shadow of the Rockies.

Jason Nixon was the lodge’s general manager. He’s also been charged with assault, uttering threats and obstruction of a peace officer. One of the other men accused is his employee.

His father, Pat Nixon, meanwhile, is a member of the Order of Canada who, when he announced his retirement in January, earned an editorial in the Calgary Herald calling him “a living saint.”

And yet the horse deaths, including the one his son is charged with, along with Earl Anderson, Gary Cape and the boy, were gruesome.

Some of the mares were pregnant. One mustang, paralyzed by a bullet through the neck, took so long to die it left a silhouette of its body heat melted in the snow.

Horse Carcass - Alberta (sm)Another had been “gut shot,” reported the local outfitter who found a trio of carcasses in April 2009. “You could see a blood trail and he had flopped around,” he said. “He was upside down with his head wedged between two trees.”

One shooter dragged the body of a foal and laid it next to the body of its mother.

A group of ladies sporting shirts demanding better laws protecting Alberta’s wild horses showed up at court Monday to watch these men tried for killing a single pregnant mare in 2009 — a crime carrying a maximum sentence of five years.

Mr. Henderson was there too, as were a few dapper rancher types, in blue jeans, bolo ties and blazers, doffing cowboy hats as they entered the courtroom.

None of them would be here, Chuck Kollin believes, if not for him.

He’d worked at the Mountain-Aire Lodge in 2008, from the B.C. coast, hired to do some construction and maintenance work.

He left after less than two weeks, disappointed that the place wasn’t the spiritual haven he’d expected. His first day, he alleges, one of the residents offered to sell him crack. “I didn’t want any part of it.”

But the following year, visiting Calgary, using the casual labour office at a local dropin shelter, he ran into Dave Goertz, whom he recognized from the Mountain-Aire.

Mr. Goertz told him he’d been there one day in 2009 when some guys had gone out shooting horses. He had seen them do it, he told Mr. Kollin. He told him about the crying boy. Mr. Kollin checked the Internet.

He read, for the first time, about the shooting investigation. He learned of the reward. He urged Mr. Goertz to go to the police. Then he called them up himself.

Mr. Kollin says part of his motivation was money: He planned, he says, to use the reward for a mission to Albania, to help deliver clothes and crop seeds there. But he also wanted justice done.

He spent “weeks,” he says, helping RCMP track down Mr. Goertz, who had no fixed address. He spent plenty of his own funds in the process. “It became my full-time job,” he says.

He thinks he deserves the reward, but hasn’t seen a dime yet. Mr. Henderson insists that it’s payable only upon a conviction.

When Mr. Kollin showed up on Monday, he suddenly found himself the centre of attention at a trial full enough already with interesting characters and twists.

Defence lawyers halted the proceedings and asked to add him as a witness. Mr. Kollin is stunned. He’s still waiting for a reward he believes he deserves.

He didn’t plan to be part of this trial. He’s not eager to testify — his doctors told him to avoid stress while he awaits heart surgery next month — and definitely not for the accused.

“Why would I want to support the defence?” he says. He had thought he had bused in from the coast to quietly witness the end of “something I started” — to see the mystery of the wild horse shootings unravelled; to see justice served; to finally collect his reward. Now, he’s not sure what will happen. Now, he says, he wishes he’d stayed home.


reprinted from NewpaperDirect | www.newspaperdirect.com


No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program

No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program

No Cost Spay and Neuter Program


The Responsible Pet Ownership Committee would like to make you aware of spay and neuter services offered:
No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program offered by The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services.

You are eligible if on AISH, Income Support or household income is not greater than 85% of the Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOS). Cat/kittens and dogs/puppies are eligible. Sorry, no rabbits or ferrets at this time. For more info, go to www.calgary.ca/animalservices or call 311.

SNAP (Spay Neuter Assistance Program) is a LOW cost subsidized program offered for cats and kittens. Spay/neuter rates start at $75 and $50. Go to www.meowfoundation.com for the application.

TNR (Trap Neuter[Spay] Return): If you are feeding stray fearful/feral cats and would like to become a neighbourhood caregiver contact MEOW Foundation: 403 230-6033, Line 4 or go to www.meowfoundation.com. This is a NO cost program.

Thank you:

City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services
Calgary Humane Society
MEOW Foundation
FRES (Ferret Rescue & Education Society)