Friday, April 30, 2010

OHS marks precedent-setting ruling of lifetime ban on animal ownership

April 30, 2010
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is celebrating a precedent-setting ruling that has seen an animal abuser receive a lifetime ban on owning or caring for animals.

Meredith McDonald, 56, appeared in provincial court on April 29 to face two charges of animal cruelty against a six-month-old kitten in her possession. McDonald was originally charged on March 26 after an OHS agent visited her residence and found a kitten 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.

Ms. McDonald pleaded guilty to the charges against her and was sentenced to a lifetime ban on owning or caring for animals. She was also ordered to undergo 10 hours of counselling, and to pay $187 restitution to the OHS. The ban is the first of its kind to be handed down in Ottawa.

"We're extremely pleased with this ruling, and optimistic that the counselling mandated will help address the obvious underlying issues in this case," said OHS Inspector, Miriam Smith.

Also appearing in court yesterday was Mohamed Tariq Hussain, 28, who was charged with five counts of animal cruelty following extreme cases of neglect involving 10 dogs and one cat. Mr. Hussain was charged on Oct. 20, 2009, after OHS inspectors found six adult dogs, four puppies, and one cat all living in filthy conditions, and without access to food and water. Mr. Hussain was subsequently arrested by police on another charge, and all the animals were removed and taken to the OHS shelter, where they were housed for the duration of Mr. Hussain's incarceration. Following Mr. Hussain's release, OHS inspectors issued orders to ensure adequate standards of care were in place at the property. Mr. Hussain complied with those orders and the animals were returned.

Mr. Hussain pleaded guilty to the charges against him, and was ordered to pay a $400 fine to the court. He is prohibited from owning additional animals, caring for them, or breeding them for the next five years. Mr. Hussain was permitted to keep three adult dogs. The OHS has asked the court to require Mr. Hussain to neuter the dogs, but that restriction was not granted.

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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