A man who shot and killed a police dog didn’t use all reasonable means to force the animal off his property, a judge said on Friday.
Provincial court Judge Darrell Riemer convicted Gordon Robert Adams, 52, of the Caroline area, of causing death to an animal and the unauthorized possession of a firearm following a trial that concluded two months ago in Rocky Mountain House.
Adams was acquitted on a charge of storing a firearm in a careless manner in the incident on Aug. 16, 2007.
Riemer fined Adams $1,150 for killing the RCMP breeding dog and $460 for the firearm offence.
The judge said Adams took few steps to mitigate the dog’s threat.
Adams admitted he shot the dog with a single shotgun blast to the head from a distance of about six metres.
The dog had chased Adams’ cat under a residence and was circling Adams while he stood in his yard and tried to chase him the dog by waving his arms and yelling.
Adams went to a nearby building to get the gun when attempts to get the German shepherd to leave failed.
“The accused on the whole didn’t meet the test of reasonableness” to remove the dog, the judge said.
Riemer said it would have been reasonable for him to use bear spray, which was in his house, or fire warning shots first to chase the 50-kg (110-pound) dog off.
The judge said at the time he shot the dog, it wasn’t chasing the cat and wasn’t threatening Adams.
Crown prosecutor Denis Huot said later he thought the judge’s decision was fair.
“It lets rural Albertans know that you can’t shoot stray dogs that come on your property,” Huot said.
Rural Albertans can shoot dogs if they are attacking people, cattle or other livestock.
Adams testified he thought the dog had been “dumped” in the area as a stray.
The dog was being cared for on a neighbour’s property and had wandered away from that residence when it was let out of its kennel by the people caring for it.
Huot said he believes the decision was based on the fact the dog wasn’t bothering Adams or the cat when it was shot.
He said Adams could have used a number of methods to get rid of the dog, by calling police or shooting near it.
Huot sought a fine of up to $2,000 for the killing. The maximum sentence is a $10,000 fine or 18 months in jail.
The Crown also asked for restitution of $9,294 for the dog but the judge denied this.
Riemer said the Crown can pursue a civil route if it wants restitution.
Defence lawyer Patty MacNaughton said later her client is “considering an appeal.”
Adams said later he had no idea the dog was owned by the police.
He also said he thought it was a stray since other dogs have been dumped in the area.