Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Courts need to rethink what they're thinking

August 6, 2014 Campbell River Courier-Islander

The maximum penalty under the Criminal Code of Canada for wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal is imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of $10,000.

One would think a maximum sentence should be applied when the crime is considered extreme. Rupert Wilson of Port Hardy was convicted of this crime, a crime that resulted in a young dog named Molly being considered one of the most horrific cruelty cases the BC SPCA has ever seen.

Molly's suffering and injuries were longstanding and extreme. Of that, there was no doubt. Between Wilson being charged and sentenced, 58,858 people signed a petition asking that Molly's abusers, if convicted, receive the maximum penalty. That petition was delivered to Crown Council in Port Hardy. It didn't matter.

Although Molly made a miraculous recovery and is safe and happy in the home of the RCMP officer who saved her, she will never have justice and the courts have done nothing to deter others from treating their animals with similar disregard.

Wilson's pre-sentence report said he had a "lower average range of intelligence" and a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse.

The judge took that into consideration when sentencing Wilson to a three month conditional sentence. Wilson is on probation for 12 months, must perform 25 hours of community service, has a 10 year ban on owning animals, and must pay $150 to the RCMP officer who rescued Molly as a contribution towards the vet bill of $600, but nothing to pay for the $2,406 in veterinary bills of the SPCA. He must pay a $100 victim surcharge (kept by the government to fund programs for victims of crime) and has a 30-day 24-hour curfew.

The courts seldom enforce laws that are already available. This is more infuriating when the victim is innocent, helpless, has no voice.

Rupert Wilson will next be in court on charges of sexual interference with a child under 14 and sexual assault. If convicted, let's hope his intelligence and alcohol/drug use are not considered mitigating factors next time he is sentenced.

Comment: An inadequate court system and judges sympathetic to the perpetrator far too frequently revictimize innocent, voiceless victims. Itís an insult to every thinking person that excess drug and alcohol use can be utilized as mitigating factors. What a travesty. There was no justice for Molly.