Edmonton Lawyer Charged With Animal Cruelty

February 24, 2009

Edmonton lawyer Frank Mackay has been charged with 3 counts of animal cruelty for his role in abandoning two horses last fall near McBride, BC.

Horses photographed during the rescue (Birgit Stutz)

Horses photographed during the rescue (Birgit Stutz)

The starving and exhausted horses were heroically rescued last Dec 23 from 2-metre deep snow by Robson Valley volunteers. After the rescue received national media attention, Mackay came forward as the owner, expressing his desire to get the horses back.

Belle - February 8

One of the horses in SPCA foster care - February 8

The BC SPCA made announcements of the charges in a press release today. The charges including 2 counts under the federal criminal code and one under BC’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The BC SPCA had previously expressed concerns about enforcing the latter law, since Mackay is an Alberta resident and the horses were abandoned inside the BC border.

The criminal code charges mean Mackay could receive a maximum fine of $10,000, five years in jail, and not be allowed to own animals. The prohibition would affect Mackay, who keeps several other horses at a facility east of Edmonton.



  1. So this guy MacKay is an attorney, eh? And now this snake crawled out from under his rock in an attempt to get the horses back now that someone else has rescued and vetted them? What a disgrace to the legal profession! Everyone knows just how worthless most barristers truly are, and this incredulous abuser has taken them to a new and even lower level. Shame on him! Hopefully, someone has reported him to the Bar Association in an effort to have him disbarred.

  2. This is inexcusable behaviour. I am having trouble finding the words to express how disgusted I am with this lawyer. Yes, he should be disbarred!

    I would imagine his business is suffering.

  3. Quick Update: SPCA has reported that McKay (MacKay in this article above) has plead guilty.

    Note that he identified himself — he could have avoided the law. There’s no indication that he was hiding from the law once the charges were laid. Law moves slowly, I’d be interested if anyone can point to details whether this was a quick trial that simply had delays (including an Alberta guy in a BC court), or he was sandbagging the proceedings.

    Keep an open mind, I’d be curious for the rest of the facts.

    Mind you, if he did simply discard the horses, go ask for them back once rescued, show surprise that he did anything wrong, delay proceedings, and admit guilt only when no other tactic was available, then he remains unworthy of respect. …but if he did the right(er) thing in the end, it shows that people can change.

  4. I agree completely. Keep an open mind! My story last year was all about keeping an open mind and allowing Mackay to speak.

    He was certainly courteous to me. Members of the community were also willing (to some extent) to give him the benefit of the doubt. What do they think now? I’m not sure. You’d have to ask them.

    Whatever the public actually thinks of him, this is a guy who a) had some things go wrong, and b) made a few mistakes along the way. And whether or not he faced up to his mistakes adequately, he’s had to face some embarrassment and humiliation over this very public incident. He’s also had to pay the SPCA bills to the tune of several thousand dollars, and he had said he was going to pay for the shovel crew expenses as well. So all in all, it’s a losing proposition for Mackay, and a winning proposition for the horses.

    It’s pretty hard to say whether Mackay’s been genuine in all these things, but keeping an open mind is definitely the option I’m going to take.

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