This is an appeal from a decision where the appellant was convicted of a charge that he did wilfully cause unnecessary injury to an animal, to wit, a dog, by using a firearm to wound it, contrary to s. 402(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The appellant was an animal control officer at the time of the alleged offense. On 3rd March, a woman named Mrs. Meloche found her cat being attacked by a German shepherd. On 8th March, a Mrs. Taylor, who is a neighbour of the Meloches, was in her home. She owned a poodle, which was chained in the backyard. She heard her dog making cries of pain, she ran out of her home and found it being attacked by the German shepherd. Mr. Meloche came to her home and brought with him his shotgun.
Mr. McGuire attended a short time later at the home. As he left the home he found the German shepherd in the driveway, the animal, which at that point was located between he and his truck, and the animal growled and snarled at him. Mr. McGuire then returned into the Taylor residence, asked Mr. Meloche for his shotgun.
There was another dog owned by a neighbour in the vicinity next to the dog which was at large. Mr. McGuire testified that he attempted to shoot the one animal without endangering the other and was unsuccessful in the first shot, although he was satisfied that he hit it, he then shot the dog again, at which time the dog left the area. He and Mr. Meloche followed the dog to a neighbour’s garage, and by using his rifle Mr. McGuire killed the dog in the garage.
The Court found that there was no question that the accused did wilfully shoot the dog, and on his own evidence he attempted to wound the animal on this first occurrence so that he might chase it away from the other animal and then be in a situation where he could dispose of it. So with reference to the law itself he wilfully, did the act that was prohibited.
However, the question was whether in the context of the circumstances of the case the accused acted with legal justification, in the sense that he acted properly and reasonably, with an implied duty upon him to protect the various residents in the area, or he acted with colour of right.
The Court felt that in order to set aside his decision, there must be a finding that the trial judge erred in law, which the Court did not find. Or a finding that his decision was entirely unreasonable and not supported by the evidence, and that the Court also could not do. Therefore, the appeal from conviction was dismissed.
Source: Case Law