R v Camardi, 2015 ABPC 65 (CanLII)

Camardi was charged with two counts of willfully causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird, contrary to section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, after he was linked to the discovery of a dog and a cat who were found dead with their mouths taped shut. The dog had died of starvation; the cat from asphyxia. Camardi entered a guilty plea to both counts, which were accepted, and this is the sentencing decision.

Camardi was determined fit to stand trial after a 30-day assessment. He was detained in custody following a bail hearing, and upon review of this decision, the order for detention was upheld.

Camardi pled guilty to both the charges and entered a Statement of Agreed Facts which indicated that,

  1. With regards to both animals: he was the co-owner of the dog and cat with his girlfriend; and he had threatened to kill the animals.
  2. With regard to the dog, the accused had physically abused the dog, including by: tying him to a post for extended periods, with the tether tied so high that it prevented the dog from being able to lie down; throwing full cans of beans at the dog’s head, often striking the dog in the head; punching the dog in the head; shoving feces in the dog’s nose; urinating on the dog’s head; and not providing the dog with adequate water. The accused and his girlfriend did not adequately feed the dog resulting in the dog becoming progressively more malnourished. The dog displayed indications of head trauma and a healed rib fracture which, according to the veterinarian, was suggestive of chronic abuse. A few days before the dog died, the accused taped her muzzle shut with tape. The dog died while tied to a pole in the basement. The accused then dumped the body in an alley near his residence.
  3. With regard to the cat: the accused physically attacked the cat intermittently for a few days. During the attacks, the accused kicked the cat in the face a number of times, and put the cat in a plastic bag and threw the bag in the air numerous times causing it to hit the floor and other hard surfaces. As a result, the cat suffered multiple traumatic injuries to her head, tail and hind limbs. The injuries were severe enough that she was essentially immobile. The accused also taped her mouth shut, as well as her nose, and then strangled her with a string tied around her throat. He dumped her body in a snowbank in a nearby alley. Upon later examination, it was also discovered that the cat was significantly underweight, indicating the cat was not fed adequately.

When the accused eventually admitted to the involvement in the abuse and the ultimate deaths of the animals, he stated that much of it had occurred when he was under the influence of crack cocaine.

The sentencing decision imposes:

  1. A custodial sentence of 22 months, with credit for pre-sentence custody of 16 months, leaving six months to serve;
  2. a three-year period of probationary supervision, during which Camardi must attend counseling and treatment; is prohibited from possessing alcohol or drugs; is prohibited from owning, having the custody or control of or residing in the same premises as an animal or bird; and is required to engage in educational upgrading, employment training and life skill acquisition;
  3. an Order of Prohibition from owning, having the custody or control of, or residing in the same premises of an animal or bird, for life; and
  4. victim fine surcharges of $200 on each count, with no time to pay.

For its reasons, the court states that there is a rehabilitative requirement in a fit sentence of a very troubled, and severely addicted young man. There is also a need for close community supervision of Camardi who is at risk of relapse and consequent further criminal and violent behaviour. A most significant consequence of Camardi’s addiction and related behaviours is that he has suffered lost years – years when every young person should be attending school and acquiring at least a basic education and should be developing life and employment skills. The court also considered the mitigating factors of: his young age; his entering guilty pleas; and his taking the opportunity to speak for himself at the end of counsel submissions and apologize for his actions. The aggravating factors were: Camardi’s past youth and adult criminal convictions; the gravity or severity of the offences committed by Camardi was very high, likewise his degree of responsibility for the offences he committed was very high. The prolonged abuse, neglect and wilful infliction of suffering causing the death of both animals calls for a custodial sentence at the high end of the range of sentence.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: Alberta

Topics: abuseasphyxiaattackscatcompanion animalsCriminal Codedeathdogfitness to stand trialguiltyguilty pleapainsection 445.1sentencingstarvationsuffering or injurytorturewilful

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