Monday, February 1, 2010

OHS satisfied with guilty plea in cruelty case involving 31 cats

February 1, 2010
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is satisfied with a guilty plea last week from an Ottawa couple who had 31 cats living in filthy conditions inside their one-bedroom apartment.

On January 28, Catherine Boan, 37, and Fred Long, 32, plead guilty to three counts of animal cruelty after OHS inspectors charged the couple on Dec. 14, 2009 with permitting distress to and not meeting the standards of care for cats living in their Lowertown apartment. The cats were found living in the cluttered, feces and urine-stained one-bedroom unit. All the animals were without food or water, and many of the cats had visible discharge from their eyes and noses. One cat was severely dehydrated and needed an immediate injection of fluids, while most of the other cats were thin and undernourished, as evidenced by their reaction to food.

"It was shocking to see the animals react to the sound of food being placed in bowls," said OHS Inspector, Tim Brown. "They came from every direction, and it was literally a sea of cats swarming around our feet in anticipation of finally being fed. It was quite clear these animals had not been fed for a long time."

The cats were removed from the apartment and brought back to the OHS shelter, where they were health checked and treated by the on-site veterinarian. Ms. Boan and Mr. Long subsequently relinquished ownership of the cats to the OHS. Given the advanced state of malnutrition and illness, most of the cats had to be humanely euthanized.

In addition to pleading guilty to the charges against them, Ms. Boan and Mr. Long are also required to pay restitution to the OHS in the amount of $2,595, and they are prohibited from owning, caring for or having custody of any cat for a period of five years. They were permitted to keep their existing, neutered male Chihuahua-type dog who appeared well cared for.

In handing down the sentence, the judge verbally reprimanded the couple for placing a burden on the OHS by their lack of care for their animals.

"It's rewarding to see the court clearly recognize the actual cost of caring for and treating the animals that were removed," said Brown.

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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