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|Defense(s): ||John Bothwell|
|Judge(s):|| Joseph Nadel| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Friday, Aug 26, 2011
Case Images: 1 files available
Defendant/Suspect: Thomas James Wannamaker
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A 19-year-old St. Catharines man faces cruelty to animals charges after a dog was repeatedly punched in the parking lot of a St. Catharines grocery store.
Witnesses in the area of the Real Canadian Superstore on Aug. 26 helped stop the attack and immediately called the Lincoln County Humane Society and Niagara Regional Police, said Kevin Strooband, the society's executive director.
"We are glad that the witnesses decided to come forward in this case," he said.
He credits the outraged reaction of onlookers with stopping the assault before animal control officers arrived, which was in short order as the humane society is located behind the Louth St. grocery store. He said callers reported seeing the man with a knife.
"They were all pretty upset," Strooband said, noting one woman was crying.
Sgt. Nilan Dave said officers responded to the scene for a weapon's call and arrested a man.
Strooband said the man had let go of the dog, which was running around the lot, by the time officers arrived.
The humane society picked up the dog as a stray and laid charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal against the man, he said.
"We've charged him criminally and provincially," Strooband said, noting it will be up to the Crown attorney to decide which charge to pursue.
He said upon conviction, both types of legislation - the Criminal Code of Canada and Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act - carry possible fines and/or jail time. The humane society will be seeking a lifetime ban on owning animals, he added.
The dog, a two-year-old blue heeler/mastiff cross named Tucker, hasn't let the incident hurt his personality, Strooband said.
"He was beaten with the individual's fist. The dog didn't sustain any major injuries," Strooband said. "He's got a great disposition."
He said the dog is high-energy, curious and loving.
"He's a little rambunctious, but nothing a little bit of training can't fix," Strooband said, adding the dog will sit and shake a paw.
The dog is going through testing to ensure he is adoptable.
Strooband said when an animal involved in an abuse case becomes the property of the humane society it is often adopted outside of the region. That limits the chances that an accused will see someone else with the animal, he explained.
Police charged Thomas James Wannamaker with possession of a prohibited weapon and failing to comply with a court order, Dave said. The accused remains in custody pending a bail hearing Sept. 8.
The humane society charged Wannamaker with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, Strooband said. He is scheduled to appear in criminal court on the cruelty charge on Sept. 30.
|A man who repeatedly punched a dog in a busy St. Catharines grocery store parking lot has been banned from owning an animal for three years.|
But Judge Joseph Nadel stopped short of issuing a lifetime ban of pet ownership on Thomas James Wannamaker, taking into account that the defendant wasn't taking medication for a mental disorder at the time of the beating.
"You may well be in a position to have a dog back in your life," Nadel said, urging Wannamaker to take his prescribed psychotropic drugs.
Wannamaker, 19, of St. Catharines pleaded guilty Friday to willfully causing unnecessary pain and suffering to a dog by striking it on Aug. 26 outside the Real Canadian Superstore on Louth St.
The court heard Wannamaker was trying to make his dog Tucker more aggressive so it could help him hunt woolly mammoths, a prehistoric animal.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon, failing to comply with a probation order and assaulting an officer in November at the Niagara Detention Centre.
He was sentenced to 127 days of time already served, mostly in segregation at the detention centre, and put on probation for three years.
Assistant Crown attorney Mark Eshuis said witnesses reported seeing Wannamaker cut up food with a knife outside the grocery store on Aug. 26 and throw it on the ground for a white dog.
The dog appeared fearful of eating, leading Wannamaker to beat it. Eshuis said witnesses reported the dog "yelped and squealed," was "cowering" and trying to move away.
Wannamaker jabbed the dog in the left eye with his thumb. He also took out a four-litre water jug and hit the dog on the head with it.
When a woman confronted Wannamaker, Eshuis said, the man took out a knife, then put it away.
Wannamaker was arrested and the dog, Tucker, was taken by the Lincoln County Humane Society. The dog had a cut in its mouth and scars and lesions around its eye and shoulder. A veterinarian could not determine the age of the scars.
Later in custody on Nov. 7, Wannamaker covered his cell at the Niagara Detention Centre in feces and tied the door shut with a sheet. He refused to open the door and corrections officers used a knife to cut the sheet and enter.
Eshuis said Wannamaker told one of the officers that he was "going to get him affected with his AIDS" and spit at the officer, leading to the assault charge. The court was told Wannamaker is not HIV-positive.
Wannamaker's lawyer, John Bothwell, said his client has a Grade 11 education and was an honours student until he stopped taking drugs for mental-health issues like depression. He now does odd jobs for a friend with a business.
The mental-health issues have influenced the entire series of events, Bothwell said.
"There are some serious mental- health issues here."
However, Bothwell said Wannamaker knows what he did was wrong and there was no issue for arguing he was not criminally responsible.
Speaking to the judge in court, Wannamaker said he was sorry.
"I'm quite confident I'll never see myself in anywhere like this again," he said.
While the Crown asked for a lifetime pets ban, Bothwell argued against it, saying it was Wannamaker's first incident of anything approaching cruelty to animals. The dog, meanwhile, is doing well and has been placed with a shelter in Nova Scotia.
As part of the sentence Friday, Wannamaker must pay the Lincoln County Humane Society $135.83 for costs incurred when it took the two-year-old blue heeler/mastiff cross into its care.
|Source: stcatharinesstandard.ca - Dec 31, 2011|
Update posted on Dec 31, 2011 - 5:10PM