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Animal cruelty Lawyer in Calgary

If you have been charged with an animal cruelty offence it critical to retain an experienced and knowledgeable animal cruelty lawyer in Calgary in order to get the outcome you deserve.

Home Practice Areas Animal Cruelty



Sections 444 to 447 of the Criminal Code of Canada are in place to help protect animals. Each province has its own separate set of legislation as well. We will discuss Alberta’s Animal Protection Act in detail below. If you’re facing animal cruelty charges, you must seek out an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately. Animal cruelty in the Criminal Code’s sections 445 and 445.1 is defined as killing or causing unnecessary suffering to animals. If the criminal charge is for neglecting to care for an animal, typically, the charge will fall under section 446. In 2008, parliament increased the penalties for animal cruelty charges. These charges are very serious.

Facing Charges From Section 445, 445.1 Or 446 Of The Criminal Code ?

If you are facing charges from sections 445, 445.1 or 446 of the Criminal Code, there will be a thorough investigation. When the officer arrests you, you may see release directly after the arrest either with or without conditions. Since these charges deal with the care of animals, the release conditions will typically have prohibitions on owning animals or having them under your care and control.

If you are not released directly after the arrest, you will see a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge to determine if you can be released on bail. If the court grants you bail, there will be bail conditions that will both restrict your liberties and determine whether or not you can own or care for animals while going through this court process.


What If I Am A Farmer Or Rancher & I Have Been Charged?

Section 445 of the Code deals with cattle and is aimed at holding anyone responsible who: “kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures cattle; or places poison in such a position that animals may easily consume it.”

Additionally, Alberta has enacted the Animal Protection Act Regulation, prohibiting anyone from causing unnecessary pain or allowing an animal to be in distress.

My Potential Defences For Animal Cruelty in ALberta

Animal charges require the prosecution to prove that you intentionally caused an injury, unnecessary suffering, killed, or failed to perform an action you were obligated to complete regarding the care of an animal. There are several defences that your lawyer can pursue for your animal cruelty charges, and it depends on the circumstances of your case.

My Potential Defences For Animal Cruelty in ALberta


When there is property involved, in this case, animals or cattle, you can face charges regardless of whether you have a partial interest in what has been damaged or destroyed.

Therefore, you must meet with a lawyer to discuss the details surrounding the event. For the prosecution to prove that you willfully committed one of these offences, they must demonstrate that you:

  • Caused The Event Alleged By Act Or Omission
  • Knew That The Act/Omission Would Probably Cause The Occurrence Of The Event
  • Were Reckless As To Whether It Occurred Or Not

The prosecution must also prove that you had no legal justification or excuse with respect to your action or omission.


The law has mandated that imprisonment is almost always required for denunciation and deterrence to be achieved. If the prosecution decides to proceed by summary conviction, you can face up to 18 months of sentencing and up to a $10,000 fine. If they proceed by indictment, depending on what charges you’re facing, you could be facing a maximum sentence of between two and five years.


The penalties for animal cruelty charges exist because the courts and parliament have addressed and continue to emphasize the human responsibility we have towards animals. The law views cruelty against animals extremely seriously. It is essential that you speak to a qualified criminal defence lawyer if you’re facing animal cruelty charges.



The Animal Protection Act protects mistreated animals and holds negligent owners accountable for their actions. The Act provides a definition for distress, along with detailing what owners need to do to take care of their pets, prohibitions against abandoning animals, and sets out the powers of Peace Officers in these cases.


Under the Animal Protection Act, an animal is in distress if they are:

  • Deprived Of Shelter, Ventilation, Food, Water & Veterinary Care
  • Denied Proper Protection From Extreme Cold & Heat
  • Injured, Sick, In Pain Or Suffering
  • Abused Or Subjected To Unjust Neglect

Individuals that own and care for animals must carry out the following duties:

Individuals that own and care for animals must carry out the following duties:

  • Provide Adequate Food & Water
  • Provide Reasonable Protection From Hot & Cold Conditions
  • Provide Adequate Shelter, Ventilation, & Space
  • Provide Reasonable Veterinary Care To Injured, Sick, Or Suffering Animals


The Animal Protection Act allows Peace Officers to decide to take an animal into custody or otherwise relieve it of distress if they deem the owner incapable or unlikely to care for the animal. A common example of this is if a dog is left outdoors during a cold winter day and has no shelter or protection from the weather. Peace Officers can come and remove the dog from this situation. Additionally, the most common grounds that Peace Officers will seize an animal on are if an animal is abandoned or left for more than 24 hours without adequate food, water or shelter.


Anyone that violates the Animal Protection Act regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable for a fine of up to $20,000. If you are found guilty, the court may prohibit you from having custody or care of an animal for a set period of time. If you are currently facing charges under the Animal Protection Act, you should seek a criminal lawyer to help you defend your charges to avoid fines. Contact us today to see how we can help.




Jillian Williamson recently advocated for a Calgarian (Mr. Z) who was charged with an animal cruelty charge for killing a gopher. Jillian’s client had a gopher problem. He had called the City but was told that because this problem was on his private property he would need to hire an exterminator. He called an exterminator and was told to get a trap from Canadian Tire. He did so and eventually ended up killing a gopher.

The man’s neighbor reported this to the police, and the police charged him with unlawfully killing an animal and unlawfully causing unnecessary pain to the animal. Mr. Z was very upset that he was charged with a criminal offence. He is only a permanent resident here in Canada. A criminal conviction would have a severe consequence for him and his family if he would be convicted of an offence. He retained Ms. Williamson because of her extensive experience in defending these types of charges. They got to work right away. Often times, a lawyer will negotiate to get the charge reduced. This is sometimes in the client’s favour and sometimes not.

Ms. Williamson considered such a tactic but ultimately advised the client that it was not in his best interest. They prepared for trial which included obtaining an expert pest control company to testify in how to deal with gophers. Eventually, the crown prosecutor decided that proceeding with such a case was not in the public interest and stayed the charges. This tactic was wisely chosen by Ms. Williamson; it resulted in the client not getting any kind of criminal record. Mr. Z gets to go about his life and has no fear of any negative consequences to his immigration status.

If you are charged with an animal cruelty offence, it is imperative that you retain an experienced animal cruelty lawyer that understands how to defend these types of charges and when it is in your best interest to negotiate or go all the way to trial. Call us today.

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A grizzly bear was killed, witnessed by the Crown witness, Max Krekhovetski during closed hunting season. Our client GG was charged out of Blairmore, Alberta with eight counts. These charges included unlawfully hunting wildlife, possession of wildlife, hunting at night and additionally, the possession a prohibited hunting device related to this grizzly bear killing. As well as four indictable Criminal Code offences. These charges included, assault with a weapon, robbery, interference with a witness and extortion.

A plea agreement led to the client pleading guilty. The charges included one count of illegal possession of wildlife, one count of uttering threats and one count of theft under as an included offence of extortion. The Crown sought 4 months incarceration with substantial fines for the wildlife matters. However, at the conclusion of sentencing, the client was given fines of $10,000 for the illegal possession of a grizzly bear carcass and a Conditional Discharge. This means no record for either of the Criminal Code offences. All other charges were withdrawn saving the client from having any criminal record at all. As well as substantial time to pay for the fines on the wildlife matters. Paul Brunnen, Q.C. was co-counsel.


Our office recently represented a man in the case of R v WH charged with killing a cat. He was charged with sections 445.1 and 445.01. These provisions set out the punishment for causing unnecessary suffering and the killing of an animal. In the case of R v WH, my client was accused of killing his cat. There were several eyewitnesses and video footage the police obtained as part of the investigation.

The prosecution had a strong case to lead at trial. I counselled my client on the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding to trial and the same for a guilty plea. Ultimately, my client instructed me to plead guilty and to keep him out of jail. I had him helping me compile a robust mitigation package and gathering the jurisprudence, and drafting an argument to convince the court that jail in an institution was not the only option. Penalties for this type of crime are heavy. In almost every criminal animal cruelty offence case, the prosecution seeks jail and a lot of it.


Conditional Sentence orders are technically a jail sentence, but they are ordered to be served in your home. This is commonly referred to as house arrest. Conditional Sentence Orders typically have many conditions that you must comply with, or else there is a risk that the original sentencing judge can collapse the order. If that judge orders a collapse, then you will be sent to prison. The leading decision on whether a conditional sentence order will meet the sentencing principles set out in the Criminal Code is R v Proulx, 2005 SCC 5.

The Supreme Court interpreted the provisions in section 718 of the Code as a threshold by endorsing a philosophical theory known as just desert theory, which typically implies an obligation and a duty to punish in the first place. The punishment must also sufficiently be sufficient afflictive to be just and appropriate. This case demonstrates how critical it is if you have been charged with an animal cruelty offence to retain an experienced and knowledgeable animal lawyer in Calgary to get the possible you deserve.

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When you’re facing possible jail time over a fraud charge, it’s important to find the right criminal defence lawyer. Our animal cruelty lawyers can help make sure you are well represented, and your rights are being protected.

We will advocate in your best interest to make sure you aren’t unjustly charged.

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Dedication, Support, Ethic, Knowledge, Experience, Sharp and Direct. All the qualities your are looking for in a lawyer, they have it all and some. But JILLIAN WILLIAMSON was my guardian angel. Being a Client, I was comfortable to blindly leave my fate in their hands. That was a real well placed investment in the future of my life. I second, promote, referred and all the synonym possible to anybody facing an up hill battle and needs the support and experience to help you go through it.

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I am so very pleased with the work Mathew Deshaye put into my case! He genuinely is a good person, and is determined to get justice. Matthew is extremely professional and I couldn’t have been happier with having him represent me. I’m glad that I could work with him. Dina his assistant was also great with communicating back and forth with me. I made the right choice by retaining Matthew as my lawyer and I hope you do the same. I am in tears with how grateful I am. I’m so very thankful for the work and research that went into helping me with my case! Thank you! 🙂

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I was involved in a motor vehicle case and I knew I needed outstanding representation. Jim Lutz, Lacey and his team were nothing short of perfection. I was thoroughly impressed how he handled my case with expedited tenacity. The judicial system can be very confusing with how everything works ,but Mr. Lutz was very easy to communicate with and simplified everything. If you need a lawyer who is on the ball, Jim without a question is the person who should represent you. I highly recommend Mr. Lutz and his team! Thank you very much Sir and your team for all outstanding professional services.

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