Chilliwack cattle abuser sentenced to 35 days in jail

Jonathan Talbot the sixth of seven convicted in the high-profile case of cattle abuse

The sixth of seven men convicted of abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales pleaded guilty in court on Sept. 6.

The sixth of seven men caught on undercover video abusing cows at a Chilliwack dairy farm was sentenced to 35 days in jail in provincial court on Tuesday.

Jonathan Talbot is also banned from being in care or having custody of large animals for two years.

Talbot was involved in eight incidents of abuse caught on video shot by an undercover employee working for animal rights activist group Mercy for Animals (MFA) in 2014.

In Chilliwack provincial court on Sept. 6, Crown showed the seven short video clips proving the abuse in contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) act. In four of those videos Talbot is seen hitting cows with a hard cane on the head and the body, as well as jamming his knee into its spine.

Judge Peter LaPrairie said the videos shown “depict what can only be described as gratuitous violence against animals and birds.”

READ: One more Chilliwack cow abuser off to jail

READ: Jail time for Chilliwack men who violently abused dairy cows

In three other videos Talbot is seen not intervening as other employees abused animals, itself a violation of the PCA.

And in an eighth video he is seen using a high-pressure hose to spray water at a pigeon.

The 35-day sentence came by way of a joint submission by Crown Jim MacAulay and Talbot’s lawyer Carl Arnason: 20 days for the animal abuse, 10 days for not intervening in abuse, and five days for the wildlife abuse.

After sentencing Talbot was led away in handcuffs by a sheriff, but after Tuesday his sentence will be served intermittently from Friday evening until Sunday evening.

Krista Hiddema, Mercy For Animals’ vice-president for Canada, said in a statement issued after the sentence that it sends a strong message to Canada’s dairy industry: “Cruelty to cows will not be tolerated. But the best way to address animal cruelty is to prevent it. We’re asking all Canadian provinces to create a united front against the rampant animal abuse in the dairy industry. Extreme cruelty and neglect will continue to go unchecked on Canada’s farms until the Dairy Code of Practice is given the force of law in every province.”

The sentencing Sept. 26 is the latest in the long saga of the case of animal abuse at the largest dairy farm in Canada, Chilliwack Cattle Sales.

In June, Cody Larson was sentenced to 20 days jail and given a $4,000 fine and a one-year ban on caring for large animals. Lloyd Blackwell was given a $7,000 fine and a three-year ban on caring for animals.

In May, Travis Keefer was sentenced to seven days jail and he is forbidden from being in care or control of animals for one year. Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser were sentenced to 60 days jail and are banned from being in care of control of animals for three years.

READ: Chilliwack cattle abuse sentences not long enough says Crown

Crown is appealing that sentence, telling the court it is satisfied there were errors of law and the public interest requires an appeal. The allegation is that the sentencing judge put too much emphasis on how many seconds each instance of abuse lasted rather than the sheer number of instances.

That appeal is scheduled for Nov. 14, and Visser and Vandyke are cross-appealing.

The company, Chilliwack Cattle Sales, and one director were also charged in the case. They pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay $345,000 in fines in December 2016.

Last up of the seven sentences is Brad Genereux who is due in court on Oct. 4 to hear his fate.


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paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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