Elkford man facing animal cruelty charges

James Bonnell to appear in court in October stemming from an incident in May in the killing of two dogs.

An Elkford man is facing animal cruelty charges following an incident last May in the killing of two dogs.

After an investigation from the SPCA, Bonnell was charged with two counts of cause unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal and two charges of killing or injuring animal for shooting two dogs with a .22 rifle at his home.

In a statement provided to Global News at the time of the incident, Bonnell claimed he was defending his chicken coop from the dogs, which he claims had killed nine of his chickens.

“I went into the house and got my low velocity .22,” Bonnell wrote. “As the dog was chewing on the chicken, I shot it and it went down. I looked up and seen [sic] another dog coming around my camping trailer and it was growling at me. I shot it and it went down.”

He returned to the trailer to put the gun away, but when he stepped outside again, the dogs had disappeared.

“I went and got my gun again and went looking for the wounded dogs because I didn’t want them to suffer and I found them nearby. I put them into [my] truck and drove them a few kilometres out of town where I put them out of their misery as humanely as possible,” Bonnell continued.

A neighbour—Aaron Hunik—witnessed Bonnell loading the wounded dogs into his truck and followed him outside of town to where the animals were shot.

Jen Bryant, the owner of the two dogs, noted that Hunik arrived on the scene after one dog was shot dead and pleaded with Bonnell to spare the other.

“When he arrived, one of my dogs was already dead and the other was alive. [Hunik] proceeded to say, ‘Please, we know the owner of the dogs, please don’t do this’ and he shot her anyways. Aaron took pictures and proceeded to go to the police station and get a hold of us.”

Bonnell has since expressed remorse for his actions, noting that had he known who the dogs belonged to, he wouldn’t have shot them.

The charges fall under Section 445(1) of the Criminal Code, which details offences committed wilfully and without lawful excuse to kill, maim, wound, poison or injure dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle.

With files from the Fernie Free Press


Cranbrook Daily Townsman