Outrage as St. Thomas man accused of killing his dog found not guilty
ST. THOMAS, Ont. -- Sobs and outrage filled a St. Thomas courtroom Friday morning with shouts of "You're still a killer," and "Justice will be served," as a man accused of killing his dog was found not guilty.
Outside the Elgin County Courthouse those who had been following the trial of Tarrick Fakira-Martin continued to express frustration.
TinaMarie Moore had taken part in demonstrations outside the courthouse during the proceedings, "They never even took into consideration people that knew him, who's known him for years and known Lady."
The body of Lady, a German Shepherd, was found in a shallow grave in a St. Thomas rail yard on July 3, 2018, shortly after St. Thomas police received calls expressing concerns for the dog's welfare.
During testimony in early October, Dr. Murray Hazlett, a veterinary pathologist at the Universtiy of Guelph, noted blunt force injuries to the dog’s skull and liver that occurred hours before she died. But he couldn't rule out drowning as a cause of death.
Another witness, Jennifer Curtis, told the court she spoke with a crying Fakira-Martin on the night Lady died and he told her he had just buried his dog after she drowned.
In delivering his verdict, Justice Glen Donald told the court there was no direct evidence linking Fakira-Martin to the dog’s death.
The justice told the court that he couldn't rule out the possibility that Lady wandered away, and that she fell down a steep embankment close to where Fakira-Martin would take her for walks - that the injuries could have been caused by Lady hitting trees or rocks during her fall, causing her injuries, ending up in the river at the base of the embankment.
But the court did hear evidence clearly indicating Lady suffered from abuse. Hazlett’s testimony found the dog was malnourished, and previously had a broken leg that didn’t heal properly.
The Crown suggested Fakira-Martin could be found guilty of a lesser charge for abuse or neglect.
But Donald said the Crown should have included that charge so testimony could have been heard on it specifically. Without that testimony, he said he couldn’t be expected rule on that charge.
That decision only added to Moore’s frustration, “Use everything that you can. Even if he would have been charged with neglect, it would have been something.”
Colette Dodds agrees, "We are saying its okay by not punishing these people, by not giving them the justice that they deserve."
Dodds says those who have been advocating for Lady are now hoping to meet with Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek.
They’re hoping Yurek will help them have new legislation introduced designed to protect animals and prosecute abusers. They want it to be called “Lady's Law. “