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Is it a Crime to Kill or Injure a Dog or Cat?

It is a criminal offence to kill  or injure a cat or dog in Canada.

It is a criminal offence to kill or injure a cat or dog in Canada.

  • Yes. It is a crime in Canada to injure or kill a cat or dog. It is also a crime to endanger a cat or dog, cause unnecessary suffering to a dog or cat, and to cause damage or injury to a dog or cat while they are being driven or conveyed.
  • Injuring, endangering or causing unnecessary suffering to a dog or cat are serious offences and may be punishable by jail. The Criminal Code of Canada allows for a punishment of up to five years in jail upon conviction of an indictable offence; and a $10,000 fine or 18 months in jail, or both, for conviction of a summary conviction offence.
  • The punishment for causing damage or injury to a dog or cat while they are being driven or conveyed. is a maximum term of two years imprisonment for an indictable offence and six months or a fine of $5000, or both, for a summary conviction offence.

The relevant sections of the Criminal Code reads as follows:

s.445. (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse,(a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose; or(b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose.s.445. (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or both.s.445.1(1) Every one commits an offence who(a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;(b) in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;(c) wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or a bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;(d) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or(e) being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).s.445.1 (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or both.s.446. (1) Every one commits an offence who(a) by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed; or (b) being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal or a bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is in captivity, abandons it in distress or wilfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.s.446. (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years; or(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months or both.

The following three court cases are examples of how Canadian courts have imposed punishment for crimes committed against dogs and cats:

  1. R. v. Perrault [2007] N.S.J. No. 162:In this case, the accused was convicted of cutting the genitals off a kitten he had a acquired for his daughter with a pair of scissors.  The accused had been suffering from some mental health issues, and expressed remorse.  He was given a 3 month conditional sentence, fined for the kittens medical expenses, and a lifetime prohibition on animal ownership was made.
  2. R. v. Courchesne [2005] O.J. No. 4601:The accused had recently been convicted of another cruelty to animals offence at the time of sentencing.  In this incident, in front of a nine year old child, the accused took a cat by its legs and swung the animal against a cement wall, causing its death.  He was sentenced to 30 days incarceration, to be followed by 1 year of probation.  A two-year prohibition on animal ownership was imposed.
  3. R. v. White [2012] N.J. No. 263:The accused pleaded guilty to killing and injuring animals, uttering a threat to kill animals, and failure to appear in court.  During the course of a domestic dispute with his former girlfriend, the accused had threatened to kill her cats.  He proceeded to kill one of the cats and injure the other.  The accused’s rage in killing and injuring the animals was directed at his former girlfriend, so the Court considered this a domestic incident.  The accused had 20 prior convictions, primarily for violence and non-compliance. The accused was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for killing the cat, two months for injuring the other cat, two months for the threat and one month for failing to appear. The sentences were consecutive, but the total sentence was reduced from eight to six months under the totality principle.  In addition, the sentencing judge added 12 months’ probation, a DNA order, a 10-year weapons’ prohibition, and a 10-year prohibition from owning animals.
  •  If you have been charged with a criminal offence contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers today for your free consultation!
26 Sep 2017

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