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|Prosecutor(s):|| Gord Haighl|
|Defense(s): ||Bev Brocklehurst|
|Judge(s):|| Peter McIlhargey| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Thursday, Sep 24, 2009
» Robert Galech
» Holly Lafont - Dismissed
A couple from High River were scheduled to go on trial in Okotoks court on Wednesday on charges of abusing and not providing care for their dog.
Robert Galech averted the trial by pleading guilty to a provincial statute of not providing care for an animal in distress and the criminal code charge relating to the abuse of dog was dropped.
The charge against his common-law wife, Holly Lafont, was withdrawn as well.
Crown prosecutor Gord Haighl the reason he agreed to the plea was that there were some difficulties in the case.
"The crown is not in a position to say they inflicted the injuries, but they didn't get it treated so they did cause distress to the dog," he said.
Haighl said the RCMP got a complaint on Sept. 24, 2009 from a man who had sold the dog, a pit bull named King, to the couple a few days before.
He had dropped by to see the dog and noticed what he saw as signs of abuse.
The former owner took the dog to a vet, who inspected the dog and found extensive bruising, infections on the head and neck, traumatic injuries to the left eardrum and interior of the mouth, a fractured tooth, and burns on the back, scrotum and between the toes.
The vet said some of the injures, specifically the infections, were incurred because the dog had not been treated for his other injuries.
Haighl said the maximum fine for this charge is $20,000 but in this case he was only seeking a fine of $2,500 because of the challenges in proving the case if it went to trial and giving credit for the guilty plea.
In addition, he asked that Galech not be allowed to own, possess or live in home with animals for 10 years, except for the seven the couple currently have.
Those animals include a parrot, three cats and a guinea pig.
In regard to those animals he asked Galech be subject to regular inspections from the SPCA to ensure the animals are being properly cared for.
Bev Brocklehurst, Galech's lawyer, agreed with the conditions and told the court that at the time of the neglect only Lafont was employed and they could not afford to take the dog to a vet.
She said they take good care of their animals and would never let any harm come to them.
Judge Peter McIlhargey agreed with the joint submission and gave Galech the fine and conditions.
He told Galech that the SPCA could drop by at any time so he must make sure the pets are taken care of. McIlhargey also ordered that if one of the pets dies they could only replace the pets up to a maximum of three in total.
He stressed that Galech was not convicted of actually harming the dog, just not getting him treated for the numerous burns, bruises and infections.