Tuesday, January 5, 2010

OHS applauds fair sentence in animal cruelty case against local farmer

January 5 , 2010
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is pleased with a ruling handed down today against a Navan-area farmer who was found guilty of three acts animal cruelty after a dog and various livestock were found on his property without adequate food and water and lacking appropriate care.

Maurice Mouawad, 54, appeared in Provincial Offences Court this morning after being charged in October with animal cruelty for permitting distress to and not meeting the standards of care for animals in his possession. Mr. Mouawad was found guilty on three counts related to a dog, ducks and rabbits. He was fined $1,000 for cruelty against a nine-year-old Rottweiler-type dog, found with an apparent injury to its right hind leg. Mr. Mouawad was ordered to seek veterinary treatment for the dog, but opted to surrender the animal to the OHS instead. An OHS veterinarian later humanely euthanized the dog, due to the extent of its injuries and overall health. Mr. Mouawad was ordered to pay $250 restitution to the OHS, and is prohibited from owning a dog for the next five years.

Mr. Mouawad was additionally fined $500 for each of two charges related to livestock on his farm, which were found lacking adequate food and water, and living in filthy conditions. He is also prohibited from owning livestock for a period of two years beginning Jan. 19, allowing him time to remove animals currently on his property.

"The judge today issued a fair sentence in what is a precedent-setting case for us," said OHS Inspector Tim Brown, who testified at the trial. "We hope that this ruling acts as a deterrent to other hobby farmers who may raise animals for meat. No matter their intended purpose, consideration must be given to an animal’s well-being and welfare throughout the course of its life."

The sentence also included OHS inspection rights on Mr. Mouawad's property over the prohibition period to ensure that conditions are being met.

Today's trial marks the first time the OHS has had a case proceed to trial since the organization began laying charges under the new provincial animal cruelty act, which came into effect in March of 2009.

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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