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Nearly 24,000 endorse petition as dog-beating case heads to court
About 24,000 folks have signed a petition supporting maximum sentencing against a Duncan man facing animal cruelty charges related to an April 21 incident.
On behalf of petition creator and animal cruelty legislation advocate Charlene Myers, Crofton's Brandon Meyer handed the signatures to Crown Counsel Monday.
The accused, Brandon Harrison is due to make his plea Dec. 17 relating to the beating incident of a Boston Terrier-French Bulldog witnesses have named Terry.
"I’m writing this letter and including the signatures of 23,952 people from a petition to respectfully request that, in the event Brandon Harrison is found guilty of 'causing an animal to continue to be in distress,' Crown Counsel recommend to the judge the maximum sentence for this offence," Myers, founder of Animal Cruelty Legislation Advocates Canada, wrote in a letter to Crown.
"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, at the time the petition was drafted, this was the only animal cruelty charge Mr. Harrison was facing, but now that he has also been charged with or 'causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal' in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada, I ask that, if Mr. Harrison is found guilty of that offence, you please consider the maximum penalty for that offence instead when making your sentencing recommendation."
The petition — which went viral when it was created in September — also makes another request: if Harrison is found guilty, and in accordance with the British Columbia Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, "he be prohibited 'from owning or having custody or control of an animal' for the rest of his lifetime."
The April 21 incident saw witnesses Chris and Leigh Davies come across the dog while driving down Cowichan Lake Road. Terry stepped with caution onto the road at the Gerz Road turnoff. The Davies pulled over, flashing their lights to warn oncoming traffic to stop. That's when the situation turned ugly.
According to Chris, the accused pinned the terrier by the neck to the road and punched him three times in the head.
"Mr. Harrison’s dog is a sentient being who was completely reliant upon Mr. Harrison for the most basic necessities of life," Myers wrote. "If news reports are accurate, Terry was let down. Instead of being provided with the care to which he is entitled by law, he was allegedly punched in the head three times and flung across a road and into a ditch.
"I have no doubt that Terry suffered distress as a result of this alleged act. Whatever Mr. Harrison’s rationale for his apparent crime, Terry’s suffering must be redressed. I hope that redress will come from the courts."
Harrison is also facing charges of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm (as a result of an alleged altercation at the scene) and criminal harassment.