Monday, April 12, 2010

OHS charges two women in separate cases of cruelty to cats

April 9, 2010
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has laid separate charges against two local women for cruelty against cats.

Meredith McDonald, 56, was charged on March 26 with permitting distress to, failing to provide adequate and appropriate food and water, and failing to provide adequate and appropriate medical care for a kitten in her possession.

Inspectors from the OHS responded to a complaint call on March 7 about an injured kitten belonging to McDonald. On a visit to McDonald's Sandy Hill residence, the agent found a six-month-old kitten, named Spooky, limping and in need of veterinary care. Ms. McDonald indicated the kitten had injured its leg after jumping from a dresser, and she intended to drown the kitten in the toilet. She then admitted to drowning six other cats in the same manner in the past two years.

Ms. McDonald surrendered the injured kitten to the OHS, and the animal was examined. The OHS veterinarian determined that the kitten likely had severe neurological issues as it had trouble walking, and found blood in both eyes. The veterinarian subsequently ordered humane euthanasia for the animal due to its poor condition.

Oanh Le, 55, was also charged on March 26 with permitting distress to, and failing to provide adequate and appropriate care for 31 cats living in her two-bedroom East Ottawa apartment. Ms. Le called the OHS on Feb. 25 to surrender five cats, allegedly at the request of her landlord. When the OHS agents arrived at the apartment, they were met by the overwhelming smell of urine emanating from the cluttered unit. More than 20 cats were found inside the apartment itself.

Ms. Le refused to surrender any of the animals, so the agents issued an order to have the apartment cleaned. The agent returned to Ms. Le's home three days later to see if the order had been complied with. Ms. Le refused to open the door to the OHS agent, so the agent left, and returned on March 2 with an OSPCA warrant to enter the residence.

Assisted by police and representatives from a mobile crisis team, the OHS removed 31 cats and transported all the animals back to the shelter. All the cats were under-socialized, fearful of humans, scratched when handled, and were not deemed adoptable.

"Both of these cases are disturbing, but the obvious underlying issues for both women do not excuse cruelty against helpless animals," said OHS Inspector, Miriam Smith.

Both McDonald and Le are expected to make their first court appearances on April 26, 2010.

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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