Sentence in Breezy the dog beating put off until June

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 30, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

The man who pleaded guilty to beating Breezy the dog last year will be sentenced on June 19.

Ottawa dog attack breezy 1 (Oct. 21)

Breezy, an 18-month old Labrador-shepherd cross, suffered life-threatening injuries in an Oct. 16 attack outside an Ottawa home. (Submitted by the Ottawa Humane Society)

Steven Helfer, 24, pleaded guilty in December to maiming Breezy in October.

Witnesses said Helfer kicked and beat the young black lab and retriever mix with a rake and shovel in front of a home in the Manor Park neighbourhood, then threw the dog’s body in a dumpster.

Breezy was left with serious head and chest injuries. It took multiple surgeries and several months of care for Breezy to recover.

The judge was to deliver a sentence Tuesday but the sentence was postponed until 9 a.m. on June 19 to give more time to consider the sentence.


Crown lawyer Tara Dobec asked for a sentence of four and a half years in prison minus the six months Helfer has already served, citing a scientific link between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans. The Crown also asked for a DNA sample and a lifetime prohibition on owning pets or weapons.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Boss asked for nine to 10 months of jail time minus the six and a half months Helfer has already served, arguing that Helfer had no history of animal abuse. He also asked for two to three years of probation and anger management treatment.

The maximum sentence is five years in prison and a lifetime ban from owning animals.

The court heard that a petition calling for that maximum sentence in Helfer’s case reached more than 138,000 signatures.

“The eyes of the world are watching to see how our courts sentence Breezy’s attacker,” said Ottawa Humane Society executive director Bruce Roney in a December news release. “We all want justice for Breezy and for crimes against animals to be recognized as worthy of serious consequences.”

Helfer also pleaded guilty to criminal harassment of his mother and two counts of assault with a weapon after he waved a rake at his neighbours.

He denied allegations made by his family that he killed a pregnant chinchilla and his pet rats.

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