Mr. Cimbala was charged with wilfully injuring a dog and with causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to a dog. The dog was his neighbour’s and had escaped the neighbour’s property. The neighbour had traced the dog to Mr. Cimbala’s property and the dog was walking back towards her when Mr. Cimbala threatened to shoot the dog and then shot the dog in the face, blowing off half the dog’s nose. Mr. Cimbala claimed he had lawful excuse for shooting the dog, offering two explanations: firstly, that he was scared of the dog, and secondly, that he had a right to shoot the dog as it threatened his chickens.
The Court found that Mr. Cimbala’s fear of the dog was not credible. The Court observed that shooting the dog was not a spur of the moment decision as Mr. Cimbala had to walk a considerable distance back to his house to retrieve the gun, and then back out to where the dog was, and that Mr. Cimbala had other options more in keeping with feeling threatened by the dog (i.e. remaining in the house and calling the SPCA instead of going back out with a gun). The Court further noted that the dog made no attempt to follow Mr. Cimbala and that she was moving towards her owner.
The Court also found that Mr. Cimbala’s fear for his chickens was not credible and that the dog had done nothing to endanger Mr. Cimbala’s chickens, though some of Mr. Cimbala’s chickens had been killed in the past. Indeed, the judge found that “[t]o walk up to a dog with a pellet gun, with its owner standing within a few feet, and shoot the gun squarely into the face of a domestic pet can be nothing other than wilfully attempting to maim or injure and cause pain to a dog.” Mr. Cimbala was found guilty and given a 30 day conditional sentence.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: British Columbia