The accused, Mr. Marohn, was charged with being the owner or person having custody of horses, wilfully neglecting or failing to provide suitable and adequate food and care for them, contrary to s. 446(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. He is additionally charged being a person responsible for animals, to wit, horses, did cause or permit the animals to be or to continue to be in distress, contrary to s. 24(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
On December 10th, 2008, Cst. Dumas responded to the report of a vehicle in a ditch. Cst. Dumas attended at the scene; present was the accused and a horse named Buddy. The accused had put a halter around Buddy’s head, a tether was attached to the halter that led to the front bumper area of the car. However, the accused denied that he was using Buddy to pull the vehicle.
Buddy had collapsed and could not be raised to his feet, so a veterinarian was called. The veterinarian tried to assist Buddy but was unable to do so. It was therefore determined that the only humane act was to euthanize Buddy. Later it was determined that Buddy was emaciated, and the only reason for this condition was lack of food and nutrition.
The court described the accused as a kind-hearted, professional man who wanted to give, when he could, to his family. However, he suffered catastrophic injuries in 2000. The accused allowed horses to be collected on his property, knowing the cost and expense associated with the requirements of proper feed and maintenance of the horses. It became clear that the accused was aware that Buddy was becoming emaciated and distressed and not receiving sufficient food.
The court found that the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a marked departure from the reasonable care, and that the accused, though suffering financial consequences, made decisions and omitted to accept assistance and omitted to search in order to provide food for the animals. These omissions were wilful and resulted in him failing to provide or obtaining adequate food for Buddy. He did this, knowing that failure to provide adequate food would likely lead to distress or emaciation of Buddy. Finding the accused guilty on both counts.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: British Columbia