R v Jackson, 2011 NSPC 108

The accused is charged with two offences: 1) causing animals (7 ducks and 3 chickens) to be in distress, contrary to section 21(1) of the Animal Protection Act; and 2) while being the owner of animals or person in charge of animals, did permit the animals to be in distress, contrary to sections 21(2) of the Animal Protection Act.

The facts are as follows: a veterinarian, upon visiting one of Jackson’s neighbours, happened to notice a cage in the accused’s backyard which appeared to house a significant amount of poultry. Upon closer inspection, she observed that there were two dead birds in the cage and approximately eight other birds in the cage still alive but in apparent ill health. There was no bedding in the cage, and no evidence of any water or food available. The veterinarian then posted a notice on the premises for the accused to contact her. He did not and she returned the next day and discovered the conditions were unchanged. There was no evidence of Jackson on the property. Accordingly, she took the eight live birds into her care and left a further notice on his door.

A pathologist testified as to the complete absence of muscle mass in the tissue of the dead birds that had been necropsied and indicated these poultry would starve in approximately 5 to 7 days without food. The veterinarian indicated that there had been a woefully inadequate amount of space allocated to the animals. The birds were left to wallow in their own filth. There is no question that the fowl were neglected, not fed, not provided with any water, nor area within which to forage, and were exposed to the cold with virtually no shelter. The necropsy indicated they were starving and had been reduced to eating gravel. The judge found that the animals were in distress.

Jackson took the position that he was not the person who caused the distress. He says he purchased the birds (who were already in this condition) approximately one week before they were discovered. Even giving Jackson the benefit of the doubt that he did not cause the distress, he was in charge of the animals within the meaning of section 21(2) and was required to provide care to help with their condition, but did not. Jackson is found guilty under section 21(2) of the legislation.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: Nova Scotia

Topics: Animal Protection Actanimalsbeddingbirdscagecausing animals to be in distresschickensconvictiondead birdsdistressducksfoodfowlguiltyill healthneglectneglectedownerperson in chargepoultryshelterspacestarvationveterinarianwater

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