National News

Psych exam for accused animal torturer

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

CALGARY - A man accused of torturing and killing a dog and a cat after obtaining the animals online is to receive a psychiatric assessment.

Nicolino Ivano Camardi, 19, of Calgary was arrested earlier this month at his family's home and faces charges of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

The Calgary Humane Society began investigating in January when a starved dog was found dead with tape around its muzzle. A dead cat was found in the same area a week later with green painter's tape covering most of its face.

An examination at a veterinarian's office determined the dog suffered chronic malnourishment before its death. The cat had been strangled and had injuries to its head, tail and hind limbs.

Camardi has been in custody since his arrest. He appeared in court Friday wearing a blue prison jumpsuit.

The judge granted a joint request from the Crown and Camardi's defence lawyer for an assessment on his fitness to stand trial.

His lawyer wants him moved to a psychiatric assessment facility as soon as possible over concerns about his client's safety at the Calgary Remand Centre, but that won't happen until early next week.

Camardi's appearance was watched closely by animal rights activists.

"It's really important to us," said Heather Anderson from the Daisy Foundation., a group that fights for stiffer penalties for animal abusers and aids in the rescue of abused animals.

"It's important to show people like us aren't just going to stand by and let these animals be abused and not do anything about it," she said.

"That's why we come out and try and be at every animal abuse case that we possibly can."

The Crown has indicated it will be proceeding with the most serious version of the charge, meaning the maximum sentence is five years in prison.

Investigators say the animals were obtained on Kijiji and methodically abused.

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