An Ottawa woman, Madeleine Girard, was charged with cruelty after she abandoned a 9-month-old male, pointer-mix dog to suffer without food or water until it died of starvation.
On April 20, 2011 the Ottawa Humane Society Emergency Animal Protection Services team received a call from Ottawa Community Housing and executed a search warrant on a Heatherington Avenue unit the next day. Inside the unit, they found the decomposing body of a black and white, pointer-type dog inside front door of the unit.
The dog was emaciated with ribs, vertebrae and hip bones jutting out. The body was removed as evidence and it was subsequently determined that the dog had no fat stores or recognizable food material in his digestive tract other than what appeared to be a pair of discarded jeans he found lying in piles of debris in the unit.
"It's gut wrenching to think of how this young dog suffered, slowly starving to death, waiting at the front door for the owner that never returned," said OHS Inspector Miriam Smith. "Owners must take responsibility for their pets—it's the law. You must ensure that there is someone looking after your pet if you are unable to do so."
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.