Prosecutors Discontinue Animal Abuse Case After Dead Dog Found in Edmonton Park

by Lisa

The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service has opted to discontinue proceedings in an animal abuse case initiated following the discovery of a deceased dog in an Edmonton park.

Steven Kuzyk and Sharon Vert were scheduled to commence trial on Wednesday in the Alberta Court of Justice on charges of animal cruelty. However, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service chose to issue a stay of proceedings, asserting that there is no longer a “reasonable likelihood” of securing convictions against the two individuals.


According to a defense lawyer involved in the case, the stay was implemented after the accused provided the Crown with additional information regarding their whereabouts at the time of the incidents.


The charges against Kuzyk and Vert stemmed from two instances of animal abuse uncovered last February. The first incident occurred on December 26, 2022, when a suspect was captured on security footage allegedly dragging a deceased dog by a rope and abandoning its body in Kittlitz Park, located near 28A Street and 36A Avenue. Residents discovered the deceased three-year-old German shepherd-pit bull cross, with its paws bound, prompting them to notify the authorities. Subsequently, in February 2023, police responded to reports of animal abuse against a puppy at a home in Meadowbrook, which allegedly occurred on January 21, 2023. Law enforcement seized the four-month-old German shepherd mix and transferred her to an animal shelter.


Kuzyk and Vert, both in their 40s, were arrested and charged in connection with both incidents. The charges included failing to provide adequate care to an animal, wilfully causing pain and suffering to an animal, and causing the death of an animal.


While the Crown did not provide specific reasons for staying the charges, Kuzyk’s lawyer noted that the defense had supplied the Crown with alibi and third-party suspect information, which may have influenced the decision. Matthew Pagels, representing Vert, affirmed his client’s innocence and expressed relief that the stay reflected her innocence. He emphasized the emotional toll the accusations had taken on Vert and her gratitude for being able to move forward.

Although uncommon, charges that are stayed can potentially be reinstated by the Crown within one year.


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