Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16343
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Monday, May 10, 2010


Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Anjalo Abeywickrema

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Windsor man who was free on parole after serving prison time for manslaughter was arraigned on animal cruelty charges Friday in connection with the sexual abuse of a dog that was later euthanized.

Anjalo Abeywickrema, 51, was charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain, injury or suffering to an animal. Police allege he was the owner and they are treating him as the only suspect.

The dog, a Labrador retriever mix named Tyson, was found Monday in the back of a schoolyard near Louis Avenue. When OSPCA workers found the dog he could barely stand and was leery of help.

A condom was on the dog's penis and it had been tied off, probably more than 24 hours before the animal was found.

Nancy McCabe, OSPCA field operations manager, said a veterinarian who examined the dog believed bestiality may have been involved, but it was difficult to determine.

The dog was one to three years old and had been in Abeywickrema's possession for two months after he received it from a friend, police said.

Abeywickrema was arrested at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Wyandotte Street West and Victoria Avenue.

He was arraigned Friday morning by telephone while in police custody at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital.

After being taken into police custody Abeywickrema complained of a medical condition Thursday night and was transferred to hospital, police said. A bail hearing is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Abeywickrema was convicted of manslaughter in 2007 after he stabbed a friend on New Year's Eve 2005. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and faced a lifetime weapons ban, had to provide a DNA sample and had to seek treatment for substance abuse.

Abeywickrema was on a form of parole called statutory release, said Marian Costaris, parole supervisor for Correctional Services Canada.

Costaris said Abeywickrema's parole has been suspended because of the charge against him. A recommendation will be made to the parole board by local parole authorities about whether parole should be revoked, said Costaris.

A decision could be made by the parole board to have him moved to a federal prison.

Lawyer Kevin Shannon represented Abeywickrema in court Friday and represented him in 2007. "He's innocent until he's proven guilty; they're allegations at this point," Shannon said.

Windsor police Sgt. Brett Corey credited the investigators working on the case, as well as the public.

"Everybody has been working extra hard, putting in long hours," he said.

He added that tips were called into Crime Stoppers continuously since Monday.

"When something like this happens, it does strike a nerve with the public," Corey said.

A Facebook group, "Windsor dog abuser sought," has more than 5,400 members.

"We want to make sure this guy gets slapped hard with the book," said Tammy Deslauriers, the creator of the group.

Deslauriers, an owner of a dog close to Tyson's age, said she wants Abeywickrema in prison for life.

"He mutilated an animal; this is a heinous crime," Deslauriers said. "This is a person you're going to let into our community."

She's circulating petitions for tougher animal cruelty laws and plans to take the issue to Parliament Hill over the summer.

The maximum time in prison for Abeywickrema's charge will depend on how the case proceeds, said Melanie Coulter, executive director of the humane society.

If it proceeds as an indictable offence, Abeywickrema could face up to five years in prison.

If it's classed as a summary conviction offence, the maximum sentence is 18 months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of the time in prison and fine.


Case Updates

A Windsor man who inflicted severe genital mutilation on his dog could serve between three to nine months, Justice Lloyd Dean said Friday.

Anjalo Abeywickrema, 51, appeared in Superior Court Friday to receive his sentence after pleading guilty in July to one count under the Criminal Code of causing unnecessary pain, injury or suffering to an animal.

But after hearing both the defence and Crown attorney's position, Dean said he will carefully consider the case and render his sentence and reason next Friday.

"Whatever sentence I pronounce is not going to satisfy, and I'm not here to satisfy the emotional, perhaps justifiable emotional reaction of many members of the public and the media," Dean said.

"Animals are treated differently than human beings and I'm not here to comment on whether that's right or wrong. It's not for me, as a judge, to comment, but that's how the law treats it and I have to treat it the same way."

Abeywickrema tied a condom on his dog's penis in May to prevent it from peeing and ejaculating in his apartment.

While taking the dog out for a walk he attempted to remove the condom but was bit in the process.

He suffered a heart attack while trying to retrieve the dog and was released from hospital after the dog was euthanized.

Tyson, a black Labrador retriever mix, was discovered in the back of a schoolyard and had to be euthanized because its exposed penis had become irreparably damaged.

"His honour alluded to the fact that certainly people will be upset and they wouldn't be satisfied no matter what it was, but that is the range of sentences out there and that's the law and that's the way the system works," Kevin Shannon, Abeywickrema's lawyer.

At Friday's hearing, the court heard numerous other cases of animal cruelty that were more deliberate and severe and yet resulted in a comparable short sentence.

This difference with this case, Dean said, was Abeywickrema's criminal record and that he was on a form of parole called statutory release when Tyson was euthanized.

He was convicted of manslaughter in 2007 after stabbing a friend on New Year's Eve 2005. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and faced a lifetime weapons ban, had to provide a DNA sample and had to seek treatment for substance abuse.

"I appreciate the fact that the justice has taken the time to review the case, and hopefully reviews the manslaughter charge to see if that was an extremely violent offence or not, and maybe this individual maybe needs some mental health help," said Nancy McCabe, field operations manager for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"We were expecting a sentence today and I appreciate the crown asking for eight to nine months, that's the most anyone has ever asked for and, unfortunately, it's always three months or even less," McCabe said.

About 20 animal rights activists and their canine companions stood outside the court to advocate for stricter animal cruelty laws.

Abeywickrema will appear in court for sentencing on Friday, Sept. 17.
Source: The Windsor Star - Sept 11, 2010
Update posted on Sep 12, 2010 - 2:10PM 
A Windsor man who put a condom on his dog's penis and tied it tight says he wasn't trying to torture his pet -- he was trying to stop it from urinating and ejaculating in his apartment.

Anjalo Abeywickrema, 51, pleaded guilty in court on Monday to one count under the Criminal Code of causing unnecessary pain, injury or suffering to an animal.

"He's very sad. He never meant to hurt this dog," said Kevin Shannon, Abeywickrema's lawyer.

Local animal lovers were outraged in May when Abeywickrema's dog Tyson -- a black Labrador retriever mix -- was discovered with a grotesquely withered penis.

At Monday's plea hearing, the court heard that the dog was less than two years old, and had been causing a mess at Abeywickrema's residence.

"Peeing," Shannon said. "And also ... the term that was used was 'humping' -- on furniture and various items, to the point of ejaculation."

According to the agreed-upon statement of facts, Abeywickrema put the condom on Tyson's penis on May 9. He secured it using a piece of inner tube.

The condom did not keep the dog from continuing its habits.

Shannon said Abeywickrema then attempted to remove the condom, but the dog bit him. "So he took the dog for a walk to try to calm it down."

"He let the dog run loose, but the dog ran away. In the process of looking for the dog, he developed chest pains and was rushed to a Detroit hospital," Shannon said.

Abeywickrema was still in hospital being treated for a heart attack when Tyson was found by city workers on May 10 -- between 12 and 24 hours after the condom had been tied on.

The local humane society's manager of field operations, Nancy McCabe, said that when she saw the dog, its exposed penis had become bloody and blackened -- irreparably damaged.

The dog was euthanized for humanitarian reasons.

Told of Abeywickrema's explanation on Monday, McCabe was skeptical.

"I wonder how he got the penis to come out of the sheath," she said. "Normally, it stays inside unless the dog gets excited or another dog is in heat.

"In all my years working at the shelter, that's a new one to me," she added.

But Shannon said Abeywickrema became Tyson's owner in March and lacks knowledge of dog care.

Shannon said the defence's position is that if Abeywickrema had not suffered a heart attack, the condom would not have remained on the dog.

Shannon said it was Abeywickrema who contacted police and identified himself as the dog's owner.

Abeywickrema has been in custody since his May 13 arrest.

At the time of the incident, he was on parole for a conviction of manslaughter.

Shannon said his client's parole has been revoked.

A Sri Lankan refugee, Abeywickrema was convicted in 2007 for the stabbing death of his friend Tomislav Cepo. The two became involved in a drunken fight on New Year's Eve 2005 in a Drouillard Road rooming house.

Shannon said Abeywickrema is scheduled to be sentenced on the animal abuse charge on Sept. 10, and then he will likely be sent back into the federal system.

The maximum penalty on a charge of cruelty to animals is five years, but Shannon said he trusts the judge to make a reasonable and appropriate decision based on jurisprudence.

"There are many more horrendous cases out there where people have not received the maximum sentence," Shannon noted.

He said Abeywickrema is being held at Windsor Jail.

Asked if he has any concern for his client's safety, given the public condemnation of Abeywickrema, Shannon replied: "He's being kept fairly separate from the general population."
Source: windsorstar.com - Jul 27, 2010
Update posted on Jul 27, 2010 - 3:29PM 

References

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