Friday, June 12, 2009

OHS lays its first charges under new provincial legislation

June 12, 2009
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has laid its first charges under the province's new animal cruelty legislation, which became law in March.

On June 11, OHS inspectors charged Kaden Rocque, 36, for not providing adequate care to animals belonging to his parents. The animals were in the custody of Mr. Rocque over a period of several weeks.

Early in March, the OHS received a call about three possibly abandoned dogs living in a house that had sustained previous fire damage. As a result, the house was not occupied and was without heat.

After multiple attempts to contact the caretakers of the animals, OHS agents applied for an OSPCA warrant and entered the house. Three dogs were found inside, surrounded by feces and urine. While there was food available for the animals, without adequate supervision, the two larger dogs ate most of the food, leaving the youngest dog starving and injured as a result of attempting to seek nourishment. The dog, a three-year-old lab/collie mix, was found emaciated and in need of immediate medical care. The agents issued an order to the owner of the dog to have the animal treated by a veterinarian.

On March 12, 2009, the dog was examined by a vet and found to be dehydrated, under nourished and suffering from several wounds on its head. The dog was treated, returned to the owner and its condition has since improved.

"Allowing distress to happen to an animal is not acceptable," said OHS Inspector, Miriam Smith. "There are certain standards of animal care that must be followed, regardless of who is doing the caretaking."

Mr. Rocque was charged with permitting an animal to be in distress and failing to provide adequate standards of care to an animal, under the OSPCA Act. He's expected to make his first appearance in provincial court on July 16, 2009. If convicted, he faces maximum penalties of up to two years in jail, fines of up to $60,000, and a potential lifetime ban on owning, having custody or care of, or living with any animal.

Although legally mandated to enforce the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario SPCA Act, the OHS does not receive any government funding or funding from any animal welfare group to perform this essential work.

For media inquiries, contact:
Tara Jackson, Communications Manager
(613) 725-3166 ext. 261

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