R v Whitlock, [2013] BCJ No 1324 (BC Prov Ct)

The accused pled guilty to three different charges. The first being that, between March 27, 2012, and July 18, 2012, he did wilfully cause unnecessary pain, suffering, and injury to his dog, Captain, contrary to s. 445.1 of the Criminal Code. The second being that, between April 17 and May 17, 2012, he committed mischief to the property of his estranged spouse’s mother, and finally, on February 26, 2013, he has pled guilty to assault. This summary will focus on the charge under section 445.1 of the Code.

The accused suffered from psychosis, and was placed on an anti-psychotic medication. In regard to wilfully cause unnecessary pain, suffering, and injury to his dog, the accused believed that Captain had apparently eaten something off the ground while on a walk, and Mr. Whitlock had come to believe that the dog was poisoned by evil forces and may have become cursed in some fashion. He came to believe that the dog needed to be put down and that it was his responsibility to do that. Mr. Whitlock therefore decided to take a bat to euthanize the dog with several blows to the dog’s head. According to Mr. Whitlock, he believed he had killed the dog when he wrapped him up in a blanket and placed him in a dumpster behind the building. However, he did not kill the dog, and Captain was found in the dumpster still alive by some citizens. He was treated at an emergency veterinarian clinic, but within a few days he had succumbed to his injuries.

The court accepted that Mr. Whitlock was suffering from some kind of delusional and disordered thought patterns, and it related to his diagnosis of psychosis at the time the injuries were inflicted on his pet dog, Captain. That compromised his mental state to an extent, but not to an extent that he is not responsible for his actions.

The accused took responsibility for his actions by entering the guilty plea, and in the circumstances, the court found that a jail sentence of 60 days was appropriate to meet all the principles of sentencing. The court also imposed a lifetime ban on owning animals under s. 447.1(1)(a) of the Code.

 

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: British Columbia

Topics: animalscriminalcrueltyeuthanizeguiltyharmImprisonmentinjuryintoxiactionMental Illnessneglectprohibitionpsychosissentencingvoluntary

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