Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW
The Supreme Court of Canada, Sean Kilpatrick, The Canadian Press
An animal advocacy organization is decrying a Supreme Court of Canada decision relating to a case of bestiality in British Columbia.
Canada’s highest court has dismissed an appeal launched by Crown, after a B.C. man originally convicted of sexually assaulting his step daughters with the family dog, was acquitted of a bestiality charge.
The man , only known as D.L.W, argued he didn’t commit the offence because it didn’t involve intercourse.
The Supreme Court of Canada agrees, stating penetration is an essential element of bestiality.
Camille Labchuk with Animal Justice Canada, an intervenor in the case, says today’s decision essentially legalizes forms of sexual abuse of animals across the country.
“So as of today, Canadian law now gives animal abusers a right to use animals for their own sexual gratification.”
The highest court says any expansion of criminal liability for the offence would have to come from Parliament.
BuzzFeed Political Editor, Canada
While bestiality is a criminal offence in Canada, the top court ruled the legal definition is much more limited than how it has been interpreted for decades. It all goes back to the 1800s Church of England trying to ban any sex acts that were seen as unnatural.
The crime of bestiality in Canada stems from the old crime of “buggery.” The original definition of buggery meant anal sex with either another human or an animal. Both were forbidden in England, where Canada’s earliest laws came from.
Over the years the Criminal Code of Canada changed but the definition of bestiality was never explicitly expanded. The court found in a 7-1 ruling Thursday that there needs to be penetration involved for an act with an animal to be a criminal offence.
“There is no hint in any of the parliamentary record that any substantive change to the elements of the offence of bestiality was intended,” the Supreme Court ruled.
The case before the Supreme Court involved a man who sexually abused his teenaged stepdaughters.
On multiple occasions he forced them to (entice the dog into a sexual act too graphic and disgusting to describe).
Via Chris Wattie / Reuters
The man was convicted of 14 charges, including two counts of bestiality, and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. The two bestiality charges have now been overturned.
Parliament will now have to draft new bestiality laws to cover non-penetrative contact, if it so chooses.
Camille Labchuk of the group Animal Justice said the government must move quickly to close this “dangerous and disturbing loophole.”
“I think the Supreme Court decision is a wakeup call that the criminal laws protecting animals in this country are severely out of date,” she said.
There happens to be a bill before the House of Commons right now from Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith that would define bestiality as “sexual activity between a person and an animal.”
However, the government has so far opposed Bill C-246, which would also ban shark finning, ban the selling of cat and dog fur, and make it illegal to “brutally or viciously” kill an animal.
Conservative MP Robert Sopuck called it “a Trojan horse that would advance a pure animal rights agenda.”
A government representative said he worries the bill would unintentionally criminalize hunting and fishing.
Erskine-Smith insists his bill is specifically worded to do no such thing. He said the government could amend the bill for even further assurance.
Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella was the lone dissenter of Thursday’s decision. She argued that since penetration is physically impossible with many animals, it defies common sense for penetration to be a requirement of the crime.
“Acts with animals that have a sexual purpose are inherently exploitative whether or not penetration occurs,” she wrote.
It's astonishing to me that people are so upset that a dog was abused in a sexual act even though the dog was completely unaware it was being abused. Where is the outcry for the young girls who were abused by the dog? They knew full well that they were being abused, and they will have serious repercussions that could last the rest of their lives. There are no consequences for the dog; all the damage is done to the girls.
The man used the animal to sexually assault the girls, and there are no consequences for him for that sick, disgusting act.
The Supreme Court of Canada has completely missed the point, again.
What an insane world we live in when animal rights are put so ridiculously far above human rights?