An Ottawa man was charged with cruelty after he abandoned his nine-month-old Lionhead-type domestic rabbit for a week without adequate food or water and with no one to care for it.
On April 21, a member of the public brought Shane Cadorette's malnourished and dehydrated rabbit to the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS), concerned that the rabbit had been abandoned. Following an examination by an OHS veterinarian, the rabbit was placed on fluids and dextrose, but its condition was so advanced it died shortly after admission.
Mr. Cadorette was interviewed by an OHS agent and he confirmed he was the owner and that he had left it for a week without any provisions for its care. Mr. Cadorette is charged under the Ontario SPCA Act with permitting distress and failing to provide adequate and suitable food and water for his rabbit. A court date is scheduled for May 5, 2011.
"It's heartbreaking to think of this poor rabbit left in a cage, slowly starving to death," said OHS Inspector Miriam Smith. "When an owner is away and unable to care for their pet, they are responsible for ensuring that someone is looking after the animal during that time."
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.