The Defendant, Chris Goisnard, was charged with an offence under Section 402(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. The defendant was accused on being the owner or the person having custody or control of domestic animals, namely, horses, and wilfully failing to provide suitable and adequate food and care for them, contrary to Section 402(1)(c) of the Criminal Code.
The Defendant was solely responsible for managing and operating the ranch, which at the very least had 17 horses. The Court was satisfied that each activity in the provision of suitable and adequate food, care, water, shelter, can all sustain a conviction by themselves. It is not necessary, and statutory interpretation does not require, or even indicate, that all of those have to be proven together, in order to obtain or sustain a conviction under sub-paragraph (c). Additionally, the Court was satisfied in law that the use of the word “and” should be read as “or”.
Here, the Crown relied upon the provision of food and care. There was evidence of horses left tied in the sun, on short halters; there was evidence of a lack of water, on a noticeably regular basis; there was evidence of untreated and continuing saddle sores, and most unsatisfactory evidence on how those sores were treated; there was evidence of fighting, over and above that which apparently one would be led to expect among horses, evidence of a horse having a nail in his hoof and going three or four days untreated; evidence of amateur attempts to provide medical care for animals in need.
However, the Court found that, alone or together, the above evidence was insufficient to sustain a criminal conviction under the heading of the “failure to provide care”.
The Court was satisfied that Mr. Goisnard was under a duty to know what was required and how to feed his animals and, in fact, to ensure that his animals were adequately fed. It was commented that any reasonable person can determine a condition of emaciation by simple observation. An emaciated condition was readily apparent in the four horses in this case.
On all of the evidence with respect to the feeding of the horses, the Defendant was reckless and so, was found guilty of the offence as alleged.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: Northwest Territories