R v Smith, [1991] YJ No 171 (YKTC)

The accused, Kathleen Smith and James Walker, were charged that they did wilfully permit to be caused unnecessary pain to a dog by failing to provide a suitably sized collar, contrary to s. 446(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.

The veterinarian report revealed that, on admission, the dog was depressed, timid, unkempt, thin, and dirty. A woven nylon collar was so imbedded into her neck that a piece of flesh extruded between the buckle of the collar. The veterinarian opined that the collar must have remained unadjusted for months in order to cause such a result.

A question before the Court was whether the co-accused were the owners of the dog, as it was their son who had acquired the dog, but he had been sick in the hospital. While the Court could dismiss the charges against both of the accused because it was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt on the element of ownership, it was necessary to proceed to examine the law and the evidence.

On the facts of this case, while the Court was satisfied that the accused were negligent, the Court was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that they wilfully permitted to be caused unnecessary pain to the dog by failure to provide a suitably sized collar. Therefore, on the facts of the case, the Court acquitted the accused.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: Yukon

Topics: Acquitbeyond a reasonable doubtcollarCriminal Codedistressdogevidenceinfectioninjurynegligenceownershipsufferunnecessary painveterinarianwilful

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