Owners bring pit bulls to court to send message to stop animal abuse

Rosie Mullaley
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C.B.S. man has animal cruelty case set over until next month

Human victims of crime show up at court all the time. Canine victims? Not so much.
But a surprise visit from a group of pit bulls caught everyone’s eye at provincial court in St. John’s Thursday.

Four pit bulls and their owners showed up this morning outside Courtroom No. 7 in Atlantic Place for a case involving a Conception Bay South man charged with animal cruelty. Bill Dicks and another dog owner is seen here with his dog Willa and three other pit bulls. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

Four of them were outside Courtroom No. 7 as their owners awaited the outcome of an animal cruelty case, in which two of the dogs were reportedly affected.

Ross A. Martin — who faces more than a dozen animal cruelty-related charges — wasn’t in court when his case was called. He was represented by lawyer Randy Piercey.

Piercey told Judge Pamela Goulding that he was just retained by Martin and he needed time to review the file. He and Crown prosecutor Danny Vavasour agreed to set the case over until July 31.

As lawyers and reporters left the courtroom, they were greeted in the hallway by wagging tails and yelps from the four evidently healthy dogs.

Two of the pit bulls, Willa and Ruby Rose, were two of seven dogs that were reportedly mistreated by Martin.

“The big thing I wanted to do today by coming down (to court) … was to bring to the forefront (the issue of) animal abuse,” said Bill Dicks, who owns Willa.

“You hear so much of it in this province now, and we have to get the message out that it’s no longer acceptable and people are going to have to pay the price if they don’t look after their animals.”

Owners of the other two pit bulls came to court to offer their support and condemn Martin’s alleged ill treatment of the dogs.

The 35-year-old Conception Bay South man was arrested May 13 and is charged with seven counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and causing damage or injury to an animal (animal cruelty) under the Criminal Code of Canada.

He’s also facing additional charges under the Animal Health and Protection Act — being the owner, permitting an animal to be in distress, failing to keep a dog safety tethered or penned and non-compliance with standards in Schedule B (Dog Owners).

The charges were laid following a three-month investigation that began after the dogs were seized from a property on Kennedy’s Road in Upper Gullies on Dec. 11, 2013.

About 5:45 p.m. that day, RNC patrol services responded to a report from a municipal enforcement officer with the Town of C.B.S. regarding a report of neglected animals.

Local veterinary personnel were also contacted to assist in the case.

The seven pit bulls were taken from the property and brought to a veterinary hospital for treatment.

After hearing what happened, Dicks and Rhonda Brophy, who was also at court, each adopted one. Brophy adopted Ruby Rose. The other five dogs have also reportedly found good homes and are doing well.

“As you can see now, they’re nice, healthy dogs,” Dicks said of the two at court. “We’re just here because they can’t speak for themselves.”

Dicks said when he first got Willa, she was severely malnourished, weighing only 22 pounds. Today, she’s 50 pounds.

He said he had to introduce Willa to living inside a house, including teaching her how to walk up stairs.

“She’s a very mild-mannered dog,” Dicks said. “She loves people and loves animals. She’s just a great house pet. … “There’s no more viciousness or ferociousness in them than there is in my left foot.”

Dicks said he’d like to send a message to the public that if anyone doesn’t want to care for their animals, abusing them is not the answer.

“There are other options out there. Call the SPCA or Humane Services, but do something,” he said.

“Don’t just abuse them because you will be caught and you will be charged.”



Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Humane Services

Geographic location: C.B.S., Conception Bay, Upper Gullies

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Recent comments

  • MUS
    June 21, 2014 - 13:48

    Felix is sleeping off his saucer of milk and purred himself into a snooze. I have taken the opportunity then to say don't pay attention to Felix:he just makes catty remarks and pussyfoots around the topic. As a mousey in the housey I think Felix is a catastrophe and a cataclysm. O yes the article is about dogs at court-I'm ok with that simply cause Felix so despises dogs. Oh Oh gotta go-Felix is waking up!

  • California Pete from NFLD
    June 20, 2014 - 12:56

    It's in the gins..An attack is an attack. They are not ment for pets.

    • yvette butt
      June 20, 2014 - 14:34

      can you read???? where does it say they attacked anyone??????

  • Apalled
    June 20, 2014 - 12:33

    A cat lover at heart yet appalled by comments by Felix. I thought it was deserving to have these beautiful animals represent their resilience following their torturous existence. These animals are not as dangerous as the accused who harmed them. Mr. Martin is the one who should be tethered and caged.

  • Felix
    June 20, 2014 - 11:52

    Full disclosure: I don't like dogs. disgusting brutes! Pit bulls are especially dangerous and I am shocked and appalled these canine brutes were permitted at court. Now excuse me while I go for some catnip ,have a catnap and later chase some mousies.

    • yvette butt
      June 20, 2014 - 13:06

      Felix......its people like you who make this world what it is......PS...MY FULL DISCLOSURE....I LOVE ALL DOGS, HATE MOST PEOPLE.......pit bull is just a dog, just a little dog who can love and give big sloppy wet kisses better than most.....good luck puppies in your new home and i hope your abuser has a stroke from the eyeballs down.....Ps you probably watch the neighbors beagle living in boxes and do nothing.....disgusting.

    • carogers
      June 20, 2014 - 17:44

      Oh dear Felix. If you are not a dog person so be it, but a dog is only as dangerous as the owner makes it. Handled well any dog is a welcome family addition. Dogs are more work than cats I have both. My girlfriend has three. The cats win ALL the battles, lol. but I find my Labrador is really good company.