Jake died after one of four broken ribs punctured his lung on May 17, 2020.Submitted by Melissa Buggs

Original Published on Aug 16, 2022 at 16:47

By Julia Peterson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Emotions ran high in a Saskatoon’ provincial courtroom and more than a few tears were shed as Travis Mark Dauvin pleaded guilty to killing his then-girlfriend’s dog, Jake. 

In May 2020, Dauvin injured the small Maltese so severely that he had four broken ribs, a punctured lung, and bruising around his neck and thorax.

Even after surgeries to try to save his life, Jake died from his injuries.

“I’m sorry for my actions that led to Jake’s death,” Dauvin said in court on Monday.

Crown prosecutor Aaron Martens argued that Jake’s suffering was “entirely preventable” and the court should impose a serious sentence. He suggested either three to six months of jail time, or nine to 18 months to be served in the community. 

Martens asked Judge Donna Scott to add 12 to 18 months of probation, 120 hours of community service and a prohibition against Dauvin owning any animal in future.

Dauvin’s defence lawyer, Jillian Williamson, argued her client has already faced steep consequences for his actions since he was charged — including losing his job and being vilified on social media after the case was first reported. 

She read some examples of threatening comments on social media, and said his entire family has been “afraid to even leave home and go to the grocery store,” arguing he “has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.”

Williamson said members of the public, particularly those on social media, have been calling for “jail, jail and more jail — and also stoning” for Dauvin, but he should be given a conditional discharge, which would leave him without a criminal record.

Williamson produced a certificate to show that Dauvin has now completed some anger management training, and many letters from people who support him. The letters describe a man who cares about animals — who has gone out of his way to save a skunk, a cat and a German Shepherd — and is a valued member of his community in Thode, Sask.

Martens pnoted Dauvin fatally injured Jake, so “perhaps some of these letter-writers don’t know Mr. Dauvin as well as they think they do.”

Scott reserved her decision on Dauvin’s sentence; a date for his next hearing has not yet been set.

After a separate trial in Saskatoon provincial court on Aug. 3, Dauvin was also convicted of hitting another dog, named Brita, with a broom handle during a fight with another ex-girlfriend on Jan. 11, 2020. That case has been adjourned until Aug. 22 to set a date for a sentencing hearing.

with files from Bre McAdam

This item reprinted with permission from The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan