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Regina man could receive jail time for abusing his dog

The abuse was caught on tape
Reported by Patrick Book
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It doesn't happen often, but a Regina man could be facing a jail sentence for badly abusing his dog, Kindle.

On Thursday afternoon, 21-year-old Nelson Menard appeared briefly in court. He was supposed to be sentenced after pleading guilty to cruelty to animals and causing unnecessary suffering charges from July.

That has now been put off until October while lawyers try to determine whether or not he will be required to pay for a series of surgeries and rehabilitation to the dog he injured earlier this year.

According to the Humane Society, its Animal Protection Officers (APO) were involved in an investigation into Menard in March after accusations surfaced that he was abusing his dog. The dog was around a year old at the time.

APO supervisor Diana Bishop said neighbours knew it was happening.

"Our understanding is there was a fair bit of abuse happening but nobody could see it," she explained in an interview outside court. "They could only hear it, it was happening in the evenings. One brave soul managed to catch it while it was happening during the day and recorded evidence of it and provided that to us so we could move forward."

That video showed Menard punching and kicking the dog and hanging it by its leash. Bishop says Menard could also be seen exerting "full body force" on the dog in such a way that Kindle's hip was dislocated, something vets told her would be very difficult to do.

The Regina Police Service moved in to make the arrest on March 14.

APOs found the dog in the home, recognizing her from her time spent in the Humane Society's shelter. The dog was housed there as a puppy before being adopted out to someone that apparently ended up giving Kindle to Menard.

Bishop said to her knowledge Menard never explained why he did what he did.

"He just indicated he was trying to help her. That's all he said."

Several surgeries and significant rehab followed. Kindle is physically recovered but Bishop says her life has been shattered.

She failed a temperament test, meaning she can't be adopted out to a regular home. She's spent the last several months living with an animal behaviourist who is trying to treat her.

Bishop hopes Menard will get the maximum possible sentence: a jail term, a $25,000 fine, and a lifetime ban from owning or being around animals.

She said it's very rare that they're able to get a conviction on an abuse case because people are afraid to report that kind of activity. She wants it to serve as a deterrent to others, and she's also worried that Menard will re-offend if his punishment isn't harsh enough.

Bishop admitted the case has also proven hard for the APO team to handle.

"Quite often we see the results of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect; it's not often we see it occuring. In that respect it's taken a major toll on both myself and my team and everybody at the shelter. She's really special and close to my heart. I was lucky enough that she trusted me while she was at the shelter. She's got such a loving spirit...it's been really hard."

Edited by CJME's Lisa Schick.