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Victoria considers tighter reins on horse-drawn carriage tours, pet sales

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Victoria councillors are considering tightening city regulations governing horse-drawn carriage tours, but that’s not enough for at least one council member who says it’s time to put the downtown rides out to pasture.

Councillors are set to debate wholesale changes to the animal control bylaw Thursday to consider the health and identification of carriage horses and to prohibit pet store sales of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and rabbits.

The debate last week did not resolve issues that were raised on carriage horses.

Coun. Ben Isitt said council is considering incremental changes to prolong a business that should be phased out of the city.

“This is just scratching the surface,” he told last week’s meeting. “If we’re serious about animal welfare these animals need to be in rural areas, on farms, not working in a dense urban environment under these conditions.”

The City of Montreal adopted new rules last year to protect the welfare of horses working in the city’s caleche industry. Former mayor Denis Coderre also tried to place a one-year moratorium on the popular tourist draw in 2016 after several accidents involving the horses were caught on camera, but that decision was later reversed after a judge ruled the carriages should be allowed to continue operating.

Horse-drawn carriage tours of Victoria’s scenic Inner Harbour and bucolic Beacon Hill Park are popular tourism attractions, but they have often been dogged by animal rights proponents who say the trips put stress and hardship on the horses.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said she did not want to engage in a debate at this time about the future of the carriage horse industry.

She told council last week her proposed bylaw amendments seek to protect the horses and their passengers.

“My goal is to make sure the health of the horse and the safety of the passengers are being considered,” Thornton-Joe said.

The changes include ensuring individual horses display identification numbers and health records to allow for improved animal monitoring by city licensing officers and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Highly visible numbers also help public reporting of potential issues involving horses, she said.

“People, when they do want to complain, they say, the brown horse that was on Government Street,” said Thornton-Joe. “This would help to identify more quickly which animal.”

A spokeswoman for Victoria’s Tally-Ho Carriage Tours said the company is preparing to make a statement on Victoria council’s plans, but was not prepared to comment on Monday.

Tally-Ho has been in the tour business using horses in Victoria since 1903. Its website cites three key goals, including “to ensure the horses are healthy and happy in their work at all times.”

But Isitt said his concerns about the horses go beyond criticism of the business case. He said pollution from animal waste is also an issue.

Horse urine flows freely into the Inner Harbour, he said.

“That seems to be a violation of the storm sewer bylaw,” said Isitt. “What kind of enforcement action is going on in relation to that? Are we basically ignoring that infraction?”

A city official said the carriage operators are required to remove horse manure but the issue of horse urine has not been addressed.

Council is also considering renaming the animal control regulation to the animal responsibility bylaw to also stop the sale of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and rabbits at pet stores.

“The only exemption is if these animals are offered for adoption from a recognized animal rescue society or shelter organization, at which time the current bylaw policy would still apply,” city council documents say.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press




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Young N.B. mom jailed for life in murder of teenager stabbed 200 times

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MONCTON, N.B. — In a case that captured attention across the East Coast, a young mother has been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of a Moncton, N.B., teen who had been stabbed about 200 times.

Marissa Shephard, who is in her early 20s, will have no chance of parole for 25 years, Judge Zoel Dionne ruled Friday.

She was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and arson in the 2015 death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie. He had been tied to a chair, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.

Shephard became a fugitive following the murder, and police asked the public to take a closer look at her many photos on social media, saying she had an uncanny knack for changing her appearance.

Some online photos showed her posing with a gun. Others posted by friends and family variously depict Shephard in pouting glamour poses, as a content mother of a young boy, as a haggard suspect and as a wannabe gangster.

Police said Shephard was considered dangerous due to the violent nature of the crime. She was arrested outside a Moncton hotel on March 1, 2016, and has been in custody ever since.

A Court of Queen’s Bench jury only needed about four hours to find Shephard guilty in May. She was the third person convicted in the murder.

Wylie’s body was found in Shephard’s burned-out Moncton townhouse on Dec. 17, 2015. It was found in the middle of the living room floor, with a box spring on top of it, with numerous injuries on his neck, torso, legs and arms.

Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux said he told the court Friday that “four young lives have been ruined as the result of drugs and that whole lifestyle.”

“It was a bunch of bad choices. It’s just bad all around and never should have happened,” he said in an interview.

Shephard was also sentenced to three years for the arson, minus time served. That sentence is to be served concurrently.

Lemieux said he expects there will be an appeal.

“I’ve suggested to my client that she do that, for sure,” he said.

An appeal would have to be filed within the next 30 days.  

Twenty-one-year-old Devin Morningstar was found guilty of the same charges in November 2016 and is serving a life sentence.

Another man, 20-year-old Tyler Noel, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to second-degree murder and arson with disrespect for human life and was also given a life sentence.

The Canadian Press


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National

Young N.B. mom jailed for life in murder of teenager stabbed 200 times

Published

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If you like this, share it!

MONCTON, N.B. — In a case that captured attention across the East Coast, a young mother has been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of a Moncton, N.B., teen who had been stabbed about 200 times.

Marissa Shephard, who is in her early 20s, will have no chance of parole for 25 years, Judge Zoel Dionne ruled Friday.

She was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and arson in the 2015 death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie. He had been tied to a chair, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.

Shephard became a fugitive following the murder, and police asked the public to take a closer look at her many photos on social media, saying she had an uncanny knack for changing her appearance.

Some online photos showed her posing with a gun. Others posted by friends and family variously depict Shephard in pouting glamour poses, as a content mother of a young boy, as a haggard suspect and as a wannabe gangster.

Police said Shephard was considered dangerous due to the violent nature of the crime. She was arrested outside a Moncton hotel on March 1, 2016, and has been in custody ever since.

A Court of Queen’s Bench jury only needed about four hours to find Shephard guilty in May. She was the third person convicted in the murder.

Wylie’s body was found in Shephard’s burned-out Moncton townhouse on Dec. 17, 2015. It was found in the middle of the living room floor, with a box spring on top of it, with numerous injuries on his neck, torso, legs and arms.

Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux said he told the court Friday that “four young lives have been ruined as the result of drugs and that whole lifestyle.”

“It was a bunch of bad choices. It’s just bad all around and never should have happened,” he said in an interview.

Shephard was also sentenced to three years for the arson, minus time served. That sentence is to be served concurrently.

Lemieux said he expects there will be an appeal.

“I’ve suggested to my client that she do that, for sure,” he said.

An appeal would have to be filed within the next 30 days.  

Twenty-one-year-old Devin Morningstar was found guilty of the same charges in November 2016 and is serving a life sentence.

Another man, 20-year-old Tyler Noel, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to second-degree murder and arson with disrespect for human life and was also given a life sentence.

The Canadian Press


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