UPDATED: Lunenburg man fined, banned from owning pets after dog died in hot car in Wolfville

Kirk Starratt
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Jason Remai awaits sentencing June 25 in Kentville.

“When we choose to take on the responsibility of owning a pet, it means exactly that.”

This was the message from Judge Claudine MacDonald as she handed the maximum sentence to a Lunenburg man found guilty of failing to provide his dog with reasonable protection from injurious heat.

Jason Remai, 37, was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine or serve 90 days in custody on willful default on the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia charge. He has been given until Dec. 21, 2015 to pay. If he is unable to pay in time, he can apply to the court for an extension. Remai has also been handed a 10-year prohibition on owning or having the care of an animal.

Remai was found guilty of the charge June 11 under the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia.

Remai represented himself at the sentencing. He said he had good intentions taking his Portuguese water dog, Jackie, with him to Wolfville on July 21, 2013. Remai was attending an herbalist convention. The dog died after being left in a locked car with the windows closed for approximately two hours.

 

‘My heart was in the right place’: Remai

“There’s no question in my mind that my heart was in the right place,” Remai told the court.

Remai said he loved his dog and described the veterinary care he provided for Jackie. He said he started taking the dog with him in the car more often after he lost a roommate who used to help look after Jackie. Remai said he bonded with the dog and couldn’t leave him in the house by himself, so he would take the dog with him.

Remai said there were three other people in the world he could count on to help care for Jackie that weren’t available on the day the dog died. He said a lot of people have told him in retrospect that he should have left the dog at home. Remai said he doesn’t agree with that.

“I genuinely believe the right thing to do was to take him with me, and that’s what I did,” he said.

Remai said as far as he is concerned, he took responsibility when he had to tell his daughter what happened and hold her while she “wailed.” He said he had a high stress level that day and “sometimes life gives you more than you can handle.”

He said someone he loved was having an issue that was “very disturbing to me” and that was the “big distraction” that made him incapable of thinking clearly.

Remai said he had the dog out of the car but was told by three people it wasn’t allowed in the gardens. He said people were mad at him for having the dog out of the car and mad at him for leaving the dog in the car.

 

‘Nothing but excuses’: MacDonald

MacDonald said she was hearing “nothing but excuses” for what happened. Remai said he was “distracted” and not good at multitasking. MacDonald said it was “bordering on the incomprehensible” that Remai thought he did the right thing by taking the dog with him. She said she was “really troubled” by this.

“Does that make sense to you, given what happened to the dog?” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said Remai should have realized the potential danger when it was brought to his attention that the dog had been left in the car.

“One would think that, but that’s not what happened,” the judge said. “I don’t have any sense at all that you’re taking responsibility for what happened.”

 

‘Monumental’ decision: welfare group

Scott Saunders of People for Dogs, an animal welfare group, said he thinks the decision is “monumental.”

“There’s no excuse for animal abuse and there’s no excuse for what he did and I think the judge did a fair job,” Saunders said.

He said Remai’s request to do volunteer work with animals or seniors in lieu of the fine was “unbelievable.” Saunders doesn’t recall seeing a 10-year prohibition levied and the decision sends a very clear message.

“Mr. Remai has shown no remorse whatsoever,” Saunders said. “I think it’s very positive that a judge has handed down a 10-year prohibition on someone being so negligent.”

Geographic location: Kentville, Nova Scotia, Wolfville

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Doglover
    July 04, 2014 - 13:30

    Great job Judge MacDonald, hopefully this fine will put a dent in his bank account and make him use his brains for a change. For those of you who defend this guy, you are just as guilty.

  • Margaret spencer
    June 29, 2014 - 12:49

    First of all would he received a bigger fine or jail time if he murdered a child yes probably we'll a life is a life. Who he is or was is not the issue. The issue is it was unless army and very stupid what that animal went through before dyeing is unforgivable and this man got off easy I just hope he can live with himself for murder.

  • ElPee
    June 27, 2014 - 10:44

    Wow... people can be so mean. Just reading your comments makes me wonder if this guy should get the electric chair ! ? ! I know Jason. I've known him for a while. Jackie, the dog, was one of my dogs. I gave that cute puppy to him a few years ago. He loved that dog. Was NEVER cruel to his dog or any other animal. Yes, he did a reallllyyyyy stupid thing leaving his dog locked in a car. Very very stupid. Jason is a very sensitive person and sometimes he loose track of reality. That's what happened of that faithful day. Very stupid yes, but also very sad. He called me as soon as he could to tell me the story and was in such a bad shape. He loved his dog. Never was harsh or rough. Was always bringing him around so the dog wouldn't be lonesome. To call for him to almost be banned from society is a bit extreme. It is very easy for us humans to blame, point the finger and be mean. Justice has spoken. Jason will never forget this. And in his heart, he will forever be in debt towards his dog. But must i point out that meanwhile somewhere else in Canada, a father was just sentenced to 52 days of community services because he killed his daughter by slapping her in the face ! Got away because it wasn't his fault... slapping is "part of his culture". He had no intention of killing her. He did. He got away with it. Please stop being nasty and try to learn and think and have some compassion. Very easy to judge. Very hard to forgive.

    • Chris
      June 28, 2014 - 00:38

      The preceding was a lame excuse for the accused, who was convicted! Now, give us the source of the "other" news story, please.

  • peg rudolf white
    June 26, 2014 - 23:35

    thank you judge MacDonald for imposing the maximum penalty allowed under present law. Now it is time for us to lobby for even stiffer penalties for this type of torture of animals.

    • Chris
      June 28, 2014 - 00:27

      The Judge is LAX!

  • jane
    June 25, 2014 - 21:25

    are you kidding! this guy should NEVER be aloud to own a pet again.also if this is the maximum penalty that was handed down. then the laws need to be changed to a much more severe penalty.

  • Shelly
    June 25, 2014 - 20:40

    Seriously? He would think that rescue or animal shelter staff/volunteers would want him anywhere NEAR their rescued pets! NO WAY! He needs counselling! No sign of remorse, doesn't own up to what he did, doesn't apologize, made people who tried to save his dog go through a trial...wow. Thank you Judge Claudine MacDonald! You obviously 'get it' and care.

  • Shelly
    June 25, 2014 - 19:39

    Seriously? He would think that a rescue or animal shelter would want him anywhere NEAR their rescued pets! NO WAY! He needs counselling. No real sign of remorse, doesn't own up to what he did, made people who tried to save his dog go through a trial...wow. Thank you Judge Claudine MacDonald! You obviously 'get it' and care.

  • J Snow
    June 25, 2014 - 19:37

    I am his neighbour. There are many people who would've taken Jackie that day, gladly taken him. He was an absolutely beautiful dog.

  • animal lover
    June 25, 2014 - 19:34

    @ R. Swicker--Thank God not everyone has the same callous attitude that you do and there are people out there who care about the welfare of animals.

  • Unhappy Guy
    June 25, 2014 - 19:16

    OK lets put and leave him in a car see how he feels

  • Dot watts
    June 25, 2014 - 18:47

    One can only hope that the right people hear this, it is not ok to leave your dog in the car on a hot day. Leave them at home where they will be safe., and don't get mad at people that tell you this, they are only thinking of the well being of your pet....

  • Cathy
    June 25, 2014 - 18:00

    Not nearly enough.....as usual.

  • Lise
    June 25, 2014 - 16:56

    R.Swicker, a dog is more than a piece of personal property....here's hoping you never have one in your care. They are living creatures capable of suffering which clearly the dog in question did. It's people like you who have backwards thinking and fail to evolve as a person and breed ignorance.

  • P. Hassin
    June 25, 2014 - 16:16

    R. Swicker, even if you think of the dog as a piece of personal property, it still must have suffered before death, and that is very upsetting. The guy must have known the dog would suffer.

  • Linda
    June 25, 2014 - 16:10

    Yes (y), finally people are being held accountable for their actions. And a dog is not a piece of property, R. Swicker. It is a loving, caring, sentient member of someone's family. Your tax dollars could go to a far less worthy cause than this. The $5000. should go towards the abused animals. I am so proud to be Canadian right now. Judge Claudine MacDonald rocks. We need more people like her in positions of authority.

  • Linda
    June 25, 2014 - 16:09

    Yes (y), finally people are being held accountable for their actions. And a dog is not a piece of property, R. Swicker. It is a loving, caring, sentient member of someone's family. Your tax dollars could go to a far less worthy cause than this. The $5000. should go towards the abused animals. I am so proud to be Canadian right now. Judge Claudine MacDonald rocks. We need more people like her in positions of authority.

    • Chris
      June 28, 2014 - 00:22

      You're right about Swicker, but WRONG about the Judge. "Jason Remai, 37, was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine or serve 90 days in custody on willful default on the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia charge. He has been given until Dec. 21, 2015 to pay. If he is unable to pay in time, he can apply to the court for an extension. Remai has also been handed a 10-year prohibition on owning or having the care of an animal." Ten year prohibition, Yes. Extension to pay, laughable!

  • lynn
    June 25, 2014 - 15:01

    $5,000.00 isnt a big fine,heres hoping some of that money will go towards the lost ,forgotten and abused animals out there. Hope he never ever gets a pet again after the 10 yrs are up. Jail time would have been much better.

    • audrey kennedy
      June 25, 2014 - 15:27

      he has until December 2015 thats a years and a half to pay this fine and he can apply for an extension at that time if he cant pay the fine this is unbelievable and certainly does not seem like much of a punishment to me .

    • R. Swicker
      June 25, 2014 - 15:34

      Jail time? Please...it was a dog, nothing more than a piece of personal property. The last thing I care to do is pay for this guy to be in jail with my tax dollars.