Vernon man sentenced on animal cruelty charges will get to keep his dog

Vernon Courthouse

VERNON - An unfortunate case of animal cruelty was laid out in Vernon Provincial Court this week, and it wasn’t just sad for the pet.

Brian Jacobson, 47, was charged with causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, failing to provide necessities, and causing an animal to be in distress following an SPCA cruelty investigation at his Vernon home in November 2013.

At the time, Jacobson was caring for two dogs as well as some cats, Crown counsel Alexandra Janse said. The older dog, which had cancer and severe matting, was voluntarily surrendered to the SPCA and eventually put down after seeing a veterinarian. Another dog was left in his care provided he improve its conditions.

Defence lawyer Nick Jacob said the SPCA’s investigation came on the heels of Jacobson’s wife passing away in March of 2013.

“Mr. Jacobson was married to his wife for 24 years,” Jacob said. “Prior to her death she was the primary caregiver of the dogs.”

After she died, Jacobson and his daughter were left responsible for the pets, Jacob said.

“The type of offence is not intentional cruelty,” Jacob said. “(It’s) more in the line of negligence by people struggling to get by and still reeling from the death of the matriarch of the family.”

Jacob asked Provincial Court Judge Mark Takahashi to consider allowing his client to keep a four-year-old dog. He said the dog is doing well and added Jacobson’s youngest son has a strong attachment to it.

Takahashi sentenced Jacobson to a fine of $250, plus $120 in restitution to the SPCA. Takahashi also banned him from owning animals for five years, but made an exception for the four-year-old dog. A condition of the exemption is the SPCA may conduct unannounced inspections to confirm the dog’s welfare. Of Jacobson's three charges, those of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and failing to provide necessaries were stayed. 

Jacobson’s daughter Alicia faces animal cruelty charges in relation to the same set of events. She was scheduled to make an appearance in Vernon court the same day as her father, but did not attend. Her file is expected to be transferred to the Nanaimo Law Courts.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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