Pryor was convicted of four charges contrary to section 446(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. The appellant received a suspended sentence and three years probation. In addition, a restitution order payable to the SPCA was made for $25,511. Pryor appeals those convictions and his sentence (as to the making of a restitution order only).
The appellant argued that the trial judge misapprehended the trial evidence in four main areas with the result that the cumulative effect must lead to setting aside the four convictions and ordering a new trial. The judge is not satisfied that any misapprehension of evidence occurred to the extent argued by the appellant. Specifically, he indicates that the trial judge dealt with the issue of an outside water source and with Pryor’s evidence on this point. He also dealt specifically with the condition of the animals that were outside, through the observations made by the witnesses as to their condition.
The appeal as to the convictions is dismissed; however, the appeal with respect to the restitution order on sentence is allowed. Even though the Society incurred expenses and financial costs after they seized the animals (which included horses and a bull), the judge is not convinced that the SPCA is a victim of the offence, within the meaning of section 738 of the Criminal Code. While recent amendments provide clear authority for a sentencing court to order restitution under the Code in this case, section 738 does not provide the trial judge with that authority. The judge strikes the restitution order. He notes that section 15 of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides a path to recovery of expenses and makes the appellant liable for those provable expenses. He determines that, while it may require more paper work and some additional legal expenses, the striking of the restitution order should not make it considerably more difficult for the Society to proceed with recovery of expenses under that legislation.
Source: Case Law