Margetts v BCSPCA, 2011 BCHRT 184 (CanLII)

Margetts was seized of dogs he owned and was later charged with cruelty to animals under the Criminal Code. He filed a complaint against the BCSPCA alleging discrimination in the provision of a service customarily available to the public, on the basis of physical and mental disability, contrary to section 8 of the Human Rights Code. The SPCA applies to dismiss the complaint on the basis that it has no reasonable prospect of success and would not benefit Margetts.

Margetts indicates that the seizure of his animals resulted in him “very nearly” having a nervous breakdown, that he needed his animals for therapy, and that he suffered numerous physical and mental symptoms after their removal. He did not provide any medical information to support his assertions.

The tribunal member indicates that Margetts failed to show how the investigation and charge process undertaken by the respondent constitutes a breach of the Code on the basis of physical or mental disability. She states that even if she were to assume that Margetts does have a disability, there is no factual foundation upon which to infer that a physical or mental disability was a factor in the respondent’s investigation or seizure of Margetts’ animals, or that Margetts advised any of the officers involved in the seizure that he required the animals for a medical reason and that some form of accommodation needed to be explored to determine whether it was possible to ensure the animals’ safety and well-being while addressing his medical need. She found instead that the Society provided a reasonable, non-discriminatory explanation for its conduct which is supported by contemporaneous documentation.

The tribunal finds no reasonable prospect that Margetts will be able to succeed in establishing his complaint of discrimination and, thus, the application to dismiss is granted and the complaint is dismissed.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: British Columbia

Topics: breachCriminal Codecruelty to animalsdisabilitydiscriminationdismisseddogshuman rightshuman rights codehuman rights complaintseizureSPCA

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