Penticton man issued lifetime ban on owning animals

Man with mental health issues pleads guilty to causing an animal to be in distress

A Penticton man with mental health issues now has a lifetime ban on owning any animals after pleading guilty to a charge under the prevention of cruelty to animals act.

Documents from a vet detailing a three-month-old border collie’s health issues were submitted to the court during Wednesday’s sentencing of Gerald Devilliers at the Penticton provincial courthouse.

“Dr. Oz confirmed the dog was in a great amount of pain, and further examinations found what is believed to be an adhesive type of substance on the dog in several places and they believed the wound was caused by a cigarette,” said Crown counsel Susan Greba, adding the dog received medical treatment and was placed in a new home.

Because of unique circumstances, in which the man suffers from schizophrenia and borderline intellectual function, a joint submission from Crown and defence was provided to the court. Crown counsel said they were taking a different approach to this case as the man suffers from mental health issues. The Crown also did not seek restitution for the dog’s medical treatment.

Greba said in April of 2009 the SPCA received a phone call from a concerned resident about a dog housed on Government Street that was missing its hair and had a puncture wound in its ear. SPCA constables attended the man’s residence and found the puppy had several wounds, was staggering and appeared disorientated. Devilliers told constables the puppy had not been to a vet and he was concerned about the costs. He then took the option to surrender the dog to the SPCA.

Judge Gregory Korturbash said at sentencing that Devilliers knew something was wrong with his puppy but may not have “had any full appreciation of the pain the dog was in.” The judge said the issue of being not criminally responsible, because of mental health issues, would not have applied in this case.

“Here he knew he had a dog and that it was injured and thought the dog would grow out of it,” said Korturbash, who added that he did not believe this would set any precedence because of the unique circumstances.

Devilliers pled guilty to causing an animal to be in distress, while charges of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and injuring or endangering an animal were stayed.

Part of Devilliers’ sentence includes a lifetime ban, under the cruelty to animals act, on owning or being in control of any animal or bird. He also is under a six-month recognizance under the conditions that he keep the court advised of his address and not to own or possess any animal or bird. He also must allow the SPCA access into his home, with mental health workers present, to ensure compliance with the condition that he is not in possession of any animals.