Yukon man gets 60 days jail sentence for breaking puppy's neck

Carcross man admits he 'needs to get help,' after hurting a dog in an attempt to extort money from a relative. He pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Kashies Charles James of Carcross first threatened to harm the dog unless given money by a relative. He pleaded guilty in Yukon Territorial Court on Friday to a charge of animal cruelty. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A Carcross man admits he "needs to get help," after he broke a puppy's neck in an attempt to extort money from a relative. 

Kashies Charles James, 22, pleaded guilty in Yukon Territorial Court on Friday to a charge of animal cruelty, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The judge also urged him to seek counselling and rehabilitation. 

James' attorney says the incident happened last summer while James was high on alcohol and drugs, and that he deeply regrets the action. 

"The offence has made him realise he needs to get help," said public defender Amy Steele.

The agreed facts of the case are that on Aug. 15, James was intoxicated by a mix of alcohol and cocaine.

He confronted a relative, demanding money. He picked up the relative's eight-month-old puppy, and threatened to break the animal's neck if he was not given money.

Attorneys described the dog as a black and tan mix resembling a Rottweiler, and measuring "about a foot long." 

The relative then fled the scene with a friend.

The dog's owner then returned to the scene moments later and found the dog injured — still breathing, but with its head at an odd angle.

The puppy was then killed by a neighbour who gave it a blow to the head, "to put it out of its misery," the court heard.

James initially lied to police and claimed he had accidentally stepped on the dog.

Sadistic violence, says prosecutor

Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous called the violence sadistic, and argued that the court needed to send a message of deterrence.

"This was a small and vulnerable animal, [and] was in no way a threat to Mr. James. It was essentially helpless," she said.  

The Crown was seeking jail time of four or five months as well as an order barring James from owning pets for two years. The defence asked that James be released on probation, given 30 days served in pre-sentencing custody. 

The court acknowledged James has a "significant" criminal record, including assault, but no previous offences related to cruelty toward animals.

The defence argued that James had lived through "a high level of trauma" in his life, including losing relatives to alcohol use disorder and and being raised in foster care.

His public defender acknowledged that James has an addiction to alcohol, cocaine and other substances, and a history of using intravenous drugs. 

James is an Indigenous man, but declined to have a Gladue report presented to the court, despite his lawyer's recommendation.  

No tolerance for animal cruelty, judge says

Territorial court judge Nancy K. Orr  sentenced James to 60 days in jail with time-and-a-half credit for time served, along with an additional 10-day sentence related to court breaches.

That left 25 days for him to serve in the jail sentence.

James will also be on probation for 12 months after release, and be required to perform 25 hours of community service.

The judge urged James to seek rehabilitation and he will be obligated to take courses and counselling while on probation.

"Our society will not tolerate that individuals will do what they want to some defenceless animal," she said.  

In court, the defence noted that James currently has a dog. The sentence also prohibits him from owning a pet for a year.


  • An earlier version of this story said the incident happened on Aug. 17. In fact, it happened Aug. 15. The earlier version also inaccurately described James's threat to harm the animal as a threat to stab it, and that he was intoxicated by a mix of alcohol, cocaine and other drugs. In fact, he threatened to break the animal's neck, and he was intoxicated by alcohol and cocaine. CBC also removed an unverified assumption on how the animal was injured.
    Dec 20, 2017 3:38 PM CT