Wellington North man fined, on probation for livestock bylaw offences

William Robinson found guilty of 12 Wellington North bylaw offences, fined over $3,000

GUELPH – A Wellington North man must pay fines of over $3,000 after repeatedly allowing pigs to roam from his property, south of Conn.

William Robinson was a no-show last year when he was convicted in Guelph court of nine offences against Wellington North’s animal control bylaw.

He was handed sizable fines along with probation orders.

At the time, court heard from township clerk Karren Wallace, who levied the charges against Robinson, and nearby resident Ryan Moreau, who testified about past issues with Robinson and his animals.

The township has had numerous dealings with Robinson over the past decade, according to a report authored by Wallace and provided to the Advertiser through the township’s routine disclosure policy.

In 2017, charges levied by the township culminated in Robinson pleading guilty to offences against the township’s animal control bylaw, according to the report. The court placed him on probation for a year.

According to the report, Moreau had documented 20 occasions since 2020 of Robinson’s livestock wandering onto his 1.5-acre property.

In the early hours one December night in 2022, children staying at the home said there were horses outside a bedroom window.

Turns out it wasn’t a childhood dream ripped from a Cormac Mccarthy novel; Moreau counted around 12 horses on his property captured on surveillance cameras.

According to emails from Moreau to the township, he claims to have called the OPP on three occasions throughout 2022 about issues with Robinson, but police never attended his property.

Last year, he took his complaints about the recurring issues with Robinson and his wandering livestock to the township, including subsequent occasions of pigs wandering down the road and onto other properties in 2023.

There was “zero fencing” around the roughly 100-acre property where Robinson lives, allowing the animals to roam free, Moreau testified in court last year.

“Everybody in the area knows,” he said. “It’s just not safe.”

Prosecutor Paul Dray said the evidence from Wallace and Moreau spoke for itself.

“There is no evidence to the contrary,” said Justice of the Peace Ralph Cotter, who found Robinson guilty of having livestock at large, allowing his livestock to trespass, and not having fencing.

He was fined a total of $3,030 and handed eight months of probation.

Cotter said a “pretty clear message” needs to be sent to Robinson and the community about the “serious” offences.

Without serious consequences, he added, people will “start to question what the purpose of the bylaw is and the purpose of the courts.”

But that wasn’t the last of it.

Last month Robinson attended his court date after a meeting between the township and the prosecutor to work out a plea deal on more charges levied by the township.

On April 24, he pleaded guilty to three counts of having animals at large, related to three more incidents in July of last year.

Justice of the Peace Laura Gorczynski-Plate placed Robinson on two years of probation, which carries the possibility of jail if he were to be found breaching his probation conditions.

An additional 12 charges — including six related to Wellington North’s dog licensing, kennel and zoning bylaws — were dropped at the prosecutor’s request.

Robinson said he has since gotten rid of his animals, but he isn’t prohibited from owning any going forward.

According to Wallace, the township paid $1,751 to prosecute the case, not accounting for staff’s time “preparing court documents, serving documents,
attending at the property on numerous occasions to observe the livestock at large … or appearances at court to give testimony.”

According to court records, the fines remain outstanding.