Crown calls for six years for man who beat puppy to death

Assistant Crown attorney Tara Dobec on Monday asked the judge to impose a six-year sentence for animal cruelty and other related charges.

Article content

Before beating and torturing his nine-month-old puppy to death in January, Jake Garvin had fantasies of training the Rottweiler puppy he named Bane to be a vicious attack dog fitted with titanium teeth.


Article content

Assistant Crown attorney Tara Dobec on Monday asked the judge to impose a six-year sentence for animal cruelty and other related charges from December 2020 to the date of his Jan. 20, 2021 arrest, when police found the beaten body of the puppy in Garvin’s apartment following repeated calls from concerned neighbours.

Garvin, 22, pleaded guilty to three cruelty-related charges, and Dobec argued those should be served consecutively, with three months for uttering threats, six months for stabbing Bane in December 2020 and two-and-a-half years for killing the puppy in January.

The Crown also called for two additional years for a campaign of criminal harassment against his parents after they turned over 600 pages of text messages dating back more than two years, containing racist and homophobic rants, Dobec said, along with “many violent comments threatening to injure and kill his landlord.”


Article content

Texts from the summer of 2020 also contain threats against several unidentified people and comments about “wanting to kill various people with an attack dog, by shooting them or beating them to death.”

The theme of those text messages soon turned to his attempts to train his new puppy into an attack dog, Dobec said, showing court text exchanges that described his purchase of a shock collar with a remote control and a “bite sleeve.”

He adopted the Rottweiler mix in July 2020 and named him after the Batman villain, and according to the texts, he began expressing violent threats toward the dog within three weeks of owning him. He told his parents Bane “didn’t deserve food” and should eat his own feces instead.

“He stated he wanted an alpha attack dog … he was training Bane to fight,” Dobec said, as she shared one text to his parents in which Garvin said he wanted to have the dog fitted for “titanium teeth.”


Article content

Garvin also pleaded guilty to resisting arrest — police used a Taser when he tried to take a swing at one of the arresting officers — and to weapons offences after police searched the apartment and found a sawed-off shotgun in pieces concealed in a bag of flour.

It wasn’t the first time police had visited. Ottawa police Const. Nermin Mesic first responded a week earlier on Jan. 14 to calls from neighbours describing the sounds of a vicious beating and the dog’s painful cries.

Garvin was arrested on an unrelated warrant and released, but the officer never went inside the one-bedroom apartment to see the puppy. The same officer attended on Jan. 19, but left without taking a statement from the neighbour or listening to the audio recordings that captured the animal torture, and didn’t refer the complaint to animal welfare agencies.


Article content

The neighbour tried to contact an animal welfare officer, but was told an investigation would likely take weeks to commence.

The next night, as the beatings continued in the background, a dispatcher refused to send help because the case had already been investigated, and, the neighbour was told, police “are concerned with crimes against people, not against animals.”

When two other officers finally did attend on a wellness check, Garvin seemed unconcerned as he answered the door in his underwear with loud music playing.

Police noticed he was blocking the entry to one door in particular, and the saw blood smeared on the wall. They found Bane on the bathroom floor next to a bathtub of dirty water.

An examination would later find at least three distinct bruises to the head, multiple fractures and internal bleeding. The puppy died of trauma, internal bleeding and shock, and was possibly drowned.


Article content

“We know he was beating Bane for a number of reasons, one of which was to make him become more violent, to use him as a potential weapon,” Dobec said. “He was using the abuse of Bane to harass his parents, and the abuse had a very significant effect on the neighbour, who continually called for help and, unfortunately, was turned away by the police and animal welfare.”

The Crown asked for Garvin’s DNA to be submitted to a national databank and called for a lifetime ban from owning animals, and a lifetime ban from owning weapons.

The concern, Dobec told the judge, is that Garvin was “attempting to train his dogs to be aggressive and use them as weapons.”

Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden will consider arguments from the Crown and from defence lawyer Neil Weinstein, who agreed Garvin’s behaviour was “reprehensible” as he asked the judge for a two-year combined sentence.

Weinstein argued the text messages were an indication of the mental health issues Garvin was suffering from, and said the texts were “grandiose, delusional thinking” that was “detached from reality.”

“He became emotionally overwhelmed with basic care and training of the dog,” Weinstein said. “Let alone training an attack dog, he couldn’t even house train it.”

The judge is expected to render a sentence Sept. 28.





    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.