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Conception Bay South man convicted of dog cruelty sentenced to five-year ban on owning animals

Kevin Greeley in court in St. John’s in late March.
Kevin Greeley in court in St. John’s in late March. - Tara Bradbury

Kevin Greeley must also make a donation to the SPCA, judge rules

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

When it was his turn Tuesday to make suggestions to the court on an appropriate sentence for his crime, a man convicted of animal cruelty didn't have a whole lot to say.

"I agree with her, you know," Kevin Greeley said in relation to Crown prosecutor Robin Singleton's suggestion of a year of probation, a five-year ban on owning an animal and a $1,000 donation to the SPCA.

Greeley, 60, was convicted in late March of animal cruelty after pleading not guilty to causing his dog, Bear, unnecessary pain and suffering. He represented himself at trial, but did not call any evidence.

Two humane services officers told the court they had received a phone call about Bear last July 23 and visited Greeley's home. They received no answer when they knocked on the door, but found the dog in a doghouse on the property. He was wearing a nylon collar and was tethered with a thick, rusty chain, and had no food or water, despite the 24-C temperature. They left a note for Greeley and took the dog to the C.B.S animal hospital.

Veterinarian Dr. Ashley Harvey testified she had sedated Bear, a German shepherd-mastiff mix, in order to remove his collar, shave the fur on his neck and examine his injuries. The collar was too tight to allow her to get her fingers underneath it, she said, causing infected lacerations that went, in some spots, into the dog's muscle. Had the wounds not been treated, they would have either healed around the collar or led to sepsis, killing Bear, Harvey testified.

Moses in his backyard in St. John’s last week.
Moses in his backyard in St. John’s last week.

Greeley voluntarily surrendered his dog to the SPCA, and Bear was put up for adoption, eventually finding a new home.

"I did the best I could," Greeley said in court Tuesday.

Singleton said she wasn't looking for jail time for Greeley, explaining the court is bound by legal precedents and details set out in the Canadian Criminal Code when it comes to sentencing.

"The human reaction when an animal suffers at the hand of a person is often to demand severe punishment, but in this case, we would submit it is not appropriate given the principles of sentencing under the Criminal Code and all the circumstances of the case," she explained, noting the dog has recovered and is doing well with its new owner.

"This case appears primarily the result of a lack of education and not because of any malicious intent on the part of Mr. Greeley, so while that's not an excuse, it does go to moral culpability," Singleton said.

She noted the media attention to the case, saying she believed it helped to deter and denunciate the crime, both for Greeley and the public.

"No one wants to be known as an animal abuser, and this case really lets people know that neglect won't be tolerated," she said.

Singleton suggested Greeley be ordered to make a $1,000 donation to the SPCA, and she asked for a five-year ban on him owning any other animal. She was inclined to ask for a longer ban, she said, noting five years was the minimum ban for a second animal cruelty conviction. Greeley does not have any such prior record.

"Mr. Greeley has clearly demonstrated he is incapable of taking care of an animal and I think five years will give him some time to figure that out," Singleton told the court.

Judge David Orr noted sentences in prior animal cruelty cases across the country have generally been heavier in cases of wanton suffering versus cases of neglect.

"I agree with Ms. Singleton's characterization that it does appear that your failures in this case were really your inadequacy in terms of your ability to properly care for the animal as opposed to deliberate, wilful infliction of pain," he said to Greeley.

Orr gave Greeley a suspended sentence, followed by a year of probation, implemented a five-year animal ownership ban, and ordered him to pay $1,000 to the SPCA within the next year.

As The Telegram reported on Saturday, the dog — which is now called Moses — is enjoying life in its new home in St. John's, spending time playing, exercising and cuddling with its owner and running free in the backyard.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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