R v Cunningham and Whiffin, 2011 BCPC 358 (CanLII)

Mr. Whiffin acquired a horse, Jalupae, and brought him to the Whiffin farm for Mr. Whiffin’s children to ride. Mr. Cunningham lived on the Whiffin farm and looked after the horses.

In September of 2009 the decision was made in consultation with a veterinarian to euthanize Jalupae because he was not able to eat properly and was extremely thin. Mr. Whiffin euthanized Jalupae by hanging him using an excavator.

The issues in this case were whether Mr. Whiffin and Mr. Cunningham failed to provide suitable and adequate food and care for Jalupae, and whether they caused Jalupae unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.

The charges were as follow: count 2, wilfully causing, or, being the owner, and wilfully permitting to be caused, unnecessary pain suffering or injury to an animal, namely, a horse called Jalupae, contrary to Section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code; count 3, being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal, namely, a horse called Jalupae, wilfully neglecting or failing to provide suitable and adequate food and care for him, contrary to Section 446(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.

On count 2, the Court was satisfied that the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Whiffin wilfully caused unnecessary suffering to Jalupae by failing to provide him with proper food. In addition, on count 3, the Court was satisfied the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Whiffin and Mr. Cunningham failed or wilfully neglected to provide suitable and adequate food and care to Jalupae.

As the same facts formed the basis for the Court’s findings on both counts 2 and 3, by operation of law, the accused can only be convicted of one of these counts. Therefore, the Court found both Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Whiffin guilty on count 2 of the information.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: British Columbia

Topics: carecausing unnecessary pain or sufferingfarmfoodguiltyHanghorsekillneglectwilful neglect

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