Chatham Dogfighting Charges Thrown Out for Delay

Two men accused of vicious animal cruelty, dogfighting, and firearm charges in Chatham, Ontario have escaped criminal conviction. A judge in the high-profile case threw out 67 charges against John Robert and Michel Gagnon after ruling that the case had taken too long to reach a trial. Ultimately, the judge stated that delay by the Crown prosecutor meant the case would have taken 30 months and 28 days, instead of the 30 months considered acceptable for a trial of this nature.

The high-profile Chatham dogfighting case captured national news headlines when the dogfighting ring was first busted in 2015. Soon after, the Ontario SPCA asked the court to execute 21 of the rescued dogfighting victims on grounds that they were dangerous pit bulls. After public outcry and support from hockey legend Don Cherry, Animal Justice filed a court application to intervene in the case to save the dogs. Animal Justice fought to ensure the dogs’ interests were represented, as the agen…

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How to Protect Dogs Left in Hot Cars This Summer

After a long winter and rainy spring, the weather is finally heating up in Canada. But when the temperature rises, so too can the risk to animal safety. Animals can suffer in hot weather just like we do. Although it is becoming socially unacceptable to leave animals alone in cars, far too many animals—especially dogs—still die from overheating every year after being left unattended, locked in vehicles.

It’s illegal to cause suffering / distress to animals under federal criminal laws as well as provincial statutes, and some cities have their own bylaws protecting animals from abuse. Cars can heat up incredibly quickly even on mild days, and while some might think that rolling down the window a crack is fine, it does little to pets protects from suffering and dying in the heat.

Why are pets so vulnerable to hot weather? When people get too hot, we have the luxury of being able to sweat to cool our bodies down. But for dogs, panting is their only effective w…

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Saving Dogfighting Victims From Execution

Animal Justice is seeking leave to intervene in a court case in Chatham, Ontario to help save the lives of 21 dogs rescued from an alleged dogfighting ring in October, 2015.

Three individuals are facing hundreds of criminal animal cruelty and dogfighting charges in relation to the dogs. Meanwhile, the Ontario SPCA is asking a court to order the execution of the rescued dogs under provincial dog owner responsibility laws. It claims the dogs are pit bulls and the public will not be safe as long as the dogs are alive.

Dogfighting is a heinous crime and has no place in society. It is deeply distressing that the dogs — themselves allegedly victims of a brutal crime — could be made to pay the ultimate price for the immoral and illegal actions of humans. It is also troubling that as the agency with a mandate to protect animals, the Ontario SPCA is instead seeking their death.

At Animal Justice, we believe the victims of dogfighting deserve our help and compassi…

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