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CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Saturday, Feb 16, 2008
Defendant/Suspect: Shawn Eugene Rankin
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
In the wake of the recent Camrose animal cruelty incident, another report of inhumane treatment of an animal has been reported -- this time, in Strathcona County.
In the recent incident, the alleged murder of a dog in cold-blood was the focus of the complaint, after it was found with its throat slashed from ear-to-ear.
"It's something that we feel a line was definitely crossed, but charges do have to be considered and are pending," said Cpl. Darren Anderson of the Strathcona County RCMP.
In the incident on Saturday afternoon, it's alleged that two dogs were running loose in the Camelot Square area south of Sherwood Park, when they entered a residential acreage property. One of the dogs, which was white and medium-sized, got into a fight with a dog that lived on the property. The fight was quickly broken up and resulted in minor injuries.
The white dog was then taken back to a neighbouring property where it was being cared for, though it wasn't it's home.
Later that evening, a man who lived at the home where the dog fight took place, went to the home where the white dog was being kept and said that he was going to return it to its owner.
A short while later, the neighbour heard the piercing cry of an animal in distress. The dog was found shortly after near a shed with its throat slashed.
"Any sane person would have calmed down in the time that the guy waited, which was considerable," said Voice For Animals founder Tove Reece. "People that are at all normal and sane put things in perspective very quickly. This is another case where we have to worry about people like this because they're violent."
From the time that the dogs had originally got into the scrap, five hours passed before the white dog was found dead.
"It sounds like it's a neighbourhood dispute that got out of hand, there was enough time where if cool heads had prevailed, we could have handled the dispute a lot differently," Anderson said.
The four teens charged for microwaving a cat in Camrose during a break-and-enter reserved their plea earlier this month, and their case has been put over to March 3.
Reece said that in light of the publicity achieved by the Camrose case, this recent incident should hit the limelight, hard.
"I hope that this will get some attention and people will understand that this is not that different," Reece said. "But the Camrose case was in such cold-blood and the kids were so young that people might see this more as something done out of anger."
"There's a cold-bloodedness and planning to this one too," she said. "For someone to think that a dog is guilty in the same way that a person is, I just don't understand it."
Though no charges have yet been laid in the incident, Anderson said that they're on their way and that they'll fall under cruelty to animals, indefinitely.
Though details are still unclear, the RCMP take strict policy on animal control and cruelty to animals in the county.
"If you are having any problems with stray animals that come on to your property or dog problems in general, we do have officers here that can come out and take care of the matter," Anderson said.
Though the recent cases of animal cruelty have brought the issue to light, Reece said that it shouldn't be necessary to get the wheels of justice spinning, but may be needed to put harsher penalties in place.
"Maybe the tide is changing a bit," she said, adding that the federal Anti-Cruelty legislation hasn't been updated since the 1800s, and is in serious need of revamping.
If a trial should arise in this incident, Reece said that she and members from Voice For Animals will be strong in attendance, as crimes against animals should not go unnoticed.
|Animal rights activists were disappointed Thursday after a judge refused to impose a harsher sentence on a man who pleaded guilty to killing his neighbour's dog.|
"For us, once again, this reinforces the idea that killing an animal is OK," said Tove Reece, spokeswoman for the Voice for Animals Society.
Shawn Rankin, 42, had pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing an animal after he slit the throat of Sammy, his neighbour's dog. On Sept. 11, 2008, a Provincial Court judge sentenced him to a conditional discharge that included one year's probation, 100 hours of community service and a victims' services surcharge of $50.
On Feb. 16, 2008, Sammy, who was running around untied, got into a fight with Rankin's dog. Both dogs were injured. Several hours later, Rankin got the dog from a nearby house and led it away. Strathcona County RCMP later found the dog with its throat slit behind a shed.
The Crown had appealed the sentence on the grounds that it did not properly denounce Rankin's actions and asked Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lawrie Smith to consider a harsher sentence. Smith decided the original sentence was properly administered in law and dismissed the Crown's appeal.
Pat Youngman, who was in charge of Sammy on the day of the killing, said she was disappointed that Rankin's guilty plea meant she was never able to tell her side of the story.
"I heard the slaughter and I'll never forget that, no," she said.
"What he did was terribly, terribly wrong."
|Source: Calgary Herald - Jan 15, 2009|
Update posted on Jan 16, 2009 - 2:39AM
|Frustrated animal rights activists will have to wait another two weeks before facing a Strathcona County man accused of killing a dog by slitting its throat from ear-to-ear.|
Shaun Eugene Rankin, 42, was a no-show in Sherwood Park provincial court on Wednesday morning, where he was scheduled for his first appearance in the animal abuse trial.
Rather, an agent appearing on behalf of Rankin's lawyer requested an adjournment until April 23, stating the defense needs more time.
Rankin is charged with one count of unlawfully killing an animal.
Pat Youngman, a neighbour who often cared for Sammy, the mixed-breed dog who was killed in February, said that though she's disappointed in Rankin's absence, she's not surprised.
"I knew he wouldn't show up," Youngman said, shaking her head, adding that she feels the act of Sammy's killing and Rankin's no-show are both cowardly acts.
On the evening of Feb. 16, Sammy's body was found buried in the snow in her owner's yard in the subdivision of Camelot Court, on Range Road 233 and Township Road 520.
Youngman claims that Rankin appeared at her doorstep hours after Sammy and Rankin's dog got into a fight earlier in the day. She said that shortly after he appeared, claiming he was taking Sammy home, she heard "sounds of an animal being slaughtered."
"I just knew that he had done something horrible," she said.
Accompanied by friends, neighbours and animal rights activists, Youngman spoke out about Sammy's death and recent acts of cruelty toward animals that have taken place recently in the province.
"These things just have to change," she said. "Our animals aren't treated with the respect they're due."
Tove Reece, the director of Voice For Animals, was in attendance Wednesday morning and said that the outcome wasn't completely unpredictable.
"It's disappointing," she said. "But we've been sitting through a lot of court cases lately, and this seems to be par for the course that they're able to put it over -- it wasn't completely unexpected."
She said that though Bill S-203 is up for review in the House of Commons, it is an amendment on 100-year-old animal cruelty legislation and will only increase penalties.
"There is no point in increasing penalties if you can't get a conviction," she said, adding that under current legislation, intent must be proven in cases of animal cruelty.
"The kindest way that I can put it is to say it's a piece of garbage."
Reece said that she and her group are in full support of bill C-373, that will not only better protect animals, but remove animals from the property section of the law.
This case is one of many that the group is following and one of the many animal cruelty cases that have risen in the province over the past few months.
"Our court cases are starting to run into each other," she said.
Reece, Youngman and a group of protesters congregated outside the courthouse, holding up signs and posters with pictures of Sammy and other animals that have recently fallen victim to animal cruelty.
Over Christmas, a cat was put into a microwave and killed in Camrose. In October a dog in Didsbury was dragged behind a vehicle and beaten on the head with a shovel. Last month, over 100 malnourished horses were seized from an ranch northeast of Edmonton and a city woman was found to have over 40 dead cats in two freezers in her home.
"It seems like it's never-ending," Reece said. "But we're going to be there for Sammy at the next trial and hope that justice prevails."
|Source: Sherwood Park News - April 11, 2008|
Update posted on Apr 11, 2008 - 2:03PM
|A 42-year-old man has been charged after a dog's throat was slashed on an acreage near Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton, on Feb. 16, RCMP said Tuesday.|
The incident happened in the Camelot Square area of Strathcona County, while a neighbour was looking after a dog for another homeowner, police said.
The dog, which had gotten loose, had been involved in a fight with another neighbour's dog earlier in the day.
Police said later that evening, a man from the house where the dog fight happened went over to the neighbour's house and told the caregiver he was taking the dog back to its owner.
The caregiver heard the cry of an animal in distress, and found the dog, dead, behind a shed with its throat cut, RCMP said.
Shawn Eugene Rankin faces one count of unlawfully killing an animal.
He is to appear in court April 9.
|Source: CBC - Feb 26, 2008|
Update posted on Feb 27, 2008 - 12:20AM