Man pulls gun to protect cat

·2 min read

When James Willan felt his feline friend was under attack he didn’t hesitate to rush to its defense.

But a Sarnia Court ruled that his method of drawing a firearm on the perceived offender crossed a line.

The incident took place last summer during a late night garbage run at a Roger St. apartment block. A man was taking waste to the outdoor bin around 11 pm when he saw a wandering cat. This made the man upset and he hurled his bag of garbage at the animal.

Willan saw this and came outside with a gun. He pointed it at the man which caused him to run away and call police. Officers came and arrested Willan. The firearm was recovered, which turned out to be a BB gun.

During Willan's Jan. 21 sentencing Crown attorney David Rows felt a suspended sentence and a year of probation was appropriate. “It’s a bit puzzling to see someone who’s managed to make their way through life and not have a criminal record to date [do this],” he says of the 55 year-old Willan.

“I can appreciate that Mr. Willan probably wasn’t happy to see what he perceived to be inappropriate conduct toward a cat. But there’s obviously better ways to address this,” says Rows.

Willan, representing himself, says he was very stressed at the time, and grieving over lost family members. But he admitted to overreacting. “I wasn’t meaning any malice, I just meant to try and scare the guy from hurting my animal. That was all I was intending,” says Willan. “I apologize for the way I handled it.”

After listening to the facts and Willan’s explanation, Justice Krista Leszczynski decided to impose a conditional discharge instead of the suggested suspended sentence. This means Willan will remain without a criminal record.

Leszczynski’s reasons for the more lenient sentence included “the fact that you committed the offense as a result of [the man] throwing a bag of garbage at your cat, your indication that while you regret your actions, you have the insight that you did so as a result of a number of stressors on you at the time, your obvious remorse… and that you come before the court without any criminal record.”

Willan’s 12 month probation terms include staying away from the man and counselling sessions for stress management and grief issues. He also received a 10 year weapons ban and must forfeit his BB gun.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent