R v Chen, 2021 ABCA 382


Animal Justice, a Canadian animal advocacy organization, reported that the Alberta Court of Appeal just handed down a decision in a cruelty case that will impact how judges across Canada consider crimes against animals. While considering whether imprisonment or court supervised observation was an appropriate punishment for a defendant who violently beat a husky puppy, the judges ruled in favor of harsher sentencing for deliberate acts of cruelty to animals, reasoning that “[t]here can be no disputing that animals are sentient beings that are capable of experiencing pain and suffering and can be victims of violence. The animal cruelty provisions are aimed at protecting animals themselves from willful acts of violence and the willful infliction of pain and suffering.”

[To accompany International Update "Canadian Court of Appeal Relies on Sentience in Upholding Harsher Penalty for Convicted Animal Abuser" from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 117.]