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Pictou County man charged with killing 8 dogs has trial set for June

David Oakley awaiting his sentencing hearing on July 24 at Pictou Provincial Court.
David Oakley awaiting sentencing hearing for charges of causing suffering to animals in his care on July 24. Now an application is before the Pictou provincial court to have his guilty pleas withdrawn.

David Oakley also seeks to withdraw guilty pleas on charges of causing undue suffering to animals

PICTOU, N.S. —

Defence counsel is seeking to withdraw guilty pleas for a man who was arrested after the bodies of eight dogs were removed from his Pictou County home.

On Feb. 14, 2019 David Oakley was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the seven puppies and two mature dogs in his care.

Oakley allegedly bludgeoned the dogs with an axe.

On June 10, he entered guilty pleas to the charges in Pictou provincial court, but because his defence attorney Elizabeth Cooper had not yet received the dogs’ necropsy report Cooper requested that the guilty pleas be withdrawn.

According to the application to withdraw which was filed by Cooper on Oct. 5, “The facts revealed by the necropsy report assist the applicant significantly in raising reasonable doubt about whether he caused unnecessary suffering because the animals died quickly.”

Oakley was originally scheduled for sentencing on those charges on Nov. 12, but because of the application there will be a hearing on Jan. 6 to determine whether or not his previous guilty plea still stands.

Latest charges and trial dates

On Sept. 30, 2019 Oakley was arraigned in Pictou provincial court for new charges stemming from the same incident.

These charges refer directly to killing the dogs, and wounding a ninth.

The ninth dog, Meeka, has been treated for injuries and has since been adopted to a new home.

Oakley, who took to social media back in February posting that he had “put down” the dogs, entered pleas of not guilty to these latest charges on Nov. 4.

Trial dates for those charges have been set for June 17 and 18, 2020.

Animal rights advocates outside of Pictou Provincial court on Oct. 1, 2019.
Animal rights advocates outside of Pictou Provincial court on Oct. 1, 2019.

Response

The case has sparked multiple demonstrations going back to February at Pictou provincial court, with large groups of people holding signs and demanding harsher penalties in cases of animal abuse.

"I'm going to be here. We need to be the voice for these animals," said Brenda Gerrior, who helped organize a demonstration back in April.

For his part, Oakley told The News back in June that he has been forced to leave Pictou County and has had his life threatened "thousands of times" since February.

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