Publicity around the shooting death of a dog targeted by a Bonaparte rancher satisfies the need to deter others, a provincial court judge said Tuesday.
Judge Chris Cleaveley gave Ruth Robinson a conditional sentence, meaning she will have no criminal record. He also declined to order a firearm ban or an order that she no longer care for animals, two conditions requested by Crown lawyer Alex Janse.
The Crown lawyer also asked for a conditional sentence served in the community to denounce Robinson’s killing of her neighbour’s dog, Bud, after it briefly chased her cattle.
The only condition placed by Cleaveley is Robinson must write a letter of apology to Wayne Beck, a neighbour with whom she feuded long before the shooting incident in June 2011 at Sharpe Lake on Bonaparte Plateau northwest of Kamloops.
Cleaveley ruled in July that Robinson had options other than shooting Beck’s dog after it chased her cattle briefly. The Leonberger, a giant European breed, was sniffing at dead fish at the lakeshore when Robinson shot and killed it.
Beck watched Robinson through the scope of his rifle and fired a warning shot over her head.
“The Livestock Act offered no protection to her (Robinson),” Cleaveley said, adding “it should be obvious” the dog was no longer a threat.
Beck had only recently acquired the dog and it had not chased Robinson’s cattle in past. She testified an earlier dog owned by Beck did chase her cattle.
Robinson declined to speak to reporters. Lawyer David Hughes said he is looking at the option of appeal.
While Robinson will not have a criminal record, she must pay a $1,500 victim fine surcharge — normally a 15 per cent levy that typically is added to fines for criminal convictions.
Kevin Boon, general manager of B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, said ranchers continue to be disappointed by the verdict.
“We don’t have a clear process,” Boon said. “Pet owners need to take responsibility for where that animal is.”
The group is lobbying B.C.’s agriculture minister to clarify wording in the Livestock Act “so definitions are put into ‘chase’ and what it is,” Boon said.