An animal rights activist by the name of Anita Krajnc, 48, is being tried in Canada for criminal mischief because she gave water to thirsty pigs at a traffic stop.
Back in November 2015, Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief after clashing with the driver of a tractor-trailer transporting pigs to the slaughterhouse. She and her fellow protestors tried to give the thirsty pigs water as they were stopped at a traffic light on the way to the Fearmans Pork processing plant. The Ontario based hog farmer, Eric Van Boekel, who owned the pigs, filed a police complaint the next day. He claimed he was concerned for the safety of his product the animal rights protesters, who sometimes crowd near the large transport vehicles when they are stopped in traffic. Krajnc is the founder of an animal rights group called Toronto Pig Save. The video that went viral online shows her approaching the driver first to ask him to give the pigs water, since it was such a hot day.
Several online petitions numbering in the hundreds of thousands of signatures have already sprung up in Krajnc’s defense. Krajnc faces a maximum of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine if convicted, and she has pleaded not guilty.
Difference Between Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct
Under California law, CA Penal Code § 594(a), criminal mischief, or malicious mischief, refers to the act of intentionally damaging, graffiti-ing or defacing property. You will be charged with criminal mischief/malicious mischief if you intentionally deface or destroy another person’s property without his or her permission. It does not involve taking another’s property, which is considered theft. A key element of the crime is intentional behavior, and not accidental behavior.
The majority of malicious mischief cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and one year in jail if the amount of property damage is under $10,000. If property damage is under $400, the crime is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines.
Disorderly conduct in almost every jurisdiction, is like a catch-all charge for those crimes that do not have a specific statute covering it. While disorderly conduct laws significantly differ amongst states, the crime is mainly known as “disturbing the peace.” This encompasses any behavior that causes other people alarm, anger, annoyance, or causes them to engage in unlawful activity. California categorizes disorderly conduct offenses into five categories:
- General disorderly conduct which includes public intoxication,
- Fighting, noise, and offensive words,
- Disturbing the peace on a school campus, and
- Refusing to disburse such as during a protest.