July 29, 2013 - 1:55 PM
"I THOUGHT I WAS WITHIN MY RIGHTS:" RANCHER
KAMLOOPS - A B.C. rancher won't go to jail for killing her neighbour's dog, which she believed was 'attacking' $40,000 worth of her livestock.
Ruth Robinson, a rancher at Sharpe Lake near Clinton, was convicted today for one count of killing or injuring an animal after shooting and killing her neighbour's dog, June 5, 2011.
"(The dog) posed no danger to Ms. Robinson, her dogs or her cattle," said Kamloops provincial court judge Chris Cleaveley today during his decision on the matter. He said the shooting was more likely prompted by ongoing disputes with her neighbour.
The day of the incident, the dog—Bud— wandered off from his owner, Wayne Beck, and headed for Robinson's property.
Robinson testified that she was concerned for her cattle, her own two dogs as well as herself while Bud 'chased' her cattle and made them 'extremely stressed.' She told the court she didn't know what the dog would do next, when she decided to shoot it — twice, to put it out of its misery. Robinson reported the incident about 10 minutes later.
"I thought I was within my rights," she said today in Kamloops provincial court.
Beck said his 120-pound dog was a house-pet, who slept inside. While details varied between testimonies, Cleaveley was sure that while Bud chased the cattle for less than one minute, there was no evidence to prove the dog would have shown aggression towards Robinson, her pets or her livestock.
"It was pure speculation," Cleaveley said.
He said Robinson acted 'prematurely' upon a 'long-standing animosity' between the two neighbours and added that the case demanded common sense.
"Bud spooked and chased the cattle over both a short distance and duration," Cleaveley said. "I have found Ms. Robinson guilty of this offence."
Crown prosecutor Alex Janse asked the judge to impose a jail sentence of 60 to 90 days, but the defence asked the judge to impose a conditional sentence.
"This is about a rancher," said defence lawyer David Hughes. "This is about somebody who really did have $40,000 of personal property she believed (was at risk)."
A fixed date for sentencing is set for Thursday.
However, Cleavely offered some comfort to Robinson before then.
"I'm not going to impose a jail sentence," he said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013