Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Puppy mill owner gets fine, ban for keeping dogs in filthy conditions
May 6, 2008 Nelson Wyatt, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL - The Quebec government should crack down on puppy-mill owners in the wake of a stiff sentence given to a man who operated what was described as the "kennel from hell," say animal-rights activists.
Nicole Joncas, who runs an animal refuge in Ontario and has long fought against Quebec puppy mills, was unequivocal when she was asked how such operators should be sentenced.
"Jail," she said in a telephone interview as dogs barked in the background. "Jail time, to send a very powerful message."
Judge Jean Sirois rendered one of the stiffest sentences possible under current laws Tuesday to Marc-Andre Lapointe who owned a puppy mill in St-Jerome, north of Montreal. The judge said the attitude of the kennel owner, who wanted the return of his best-producing dogs, played a part in the harsh sentence.
Sirois says Lapointe showed no remorse about his mistreatment of the 97 filthy dogs, mostly fox terriers, that were seized from his bungalow in 2005. Twenty dogs were immediately euthanized.
Laporte, who was charged with two counts of animal cruelty after police raided his puppy mill, was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and do 200 hours of community service, just short of the maximum of 240 hours set out in the law.
He was also put on probation for three years and banned from having a pet dog for two years. Laporte also cannot communicate with foster families who have taken charge of his dogs.
"As far as the law goes, the judge did a good job," Joncas said. "I think he should have gone all the way with the 240 hours of community service, not that this man is ever going to learn anything.
"My belief is there is no excuse for blatant cruelty and abuse of any helpless being," she said. "You don't have to be an animal lover. You just have to respect life and this man showed and proved that he had absolutely no respect for life whatsoever."
Laporte's lawyer, Claude F. Archambault, said his client isn't happy about the sentence. "He's disappointed he can't own dogs and he's disappointed the judge thinks if he has dogs, he will necessarily repeat the offence," he said after the sentencing. Laporte has 30 days to appeal.
Elizabeth Pierce, who placed 57 of the dogs in foster homes when they came into the SPCA where she volunteers, agrees that jail time should be part of such sentences.
"I didn't find it was severe enough however, in accordance with the law here, the judge gave him the maximum that he could give him," she said.
She said that the fine and the community service doesn't compensate for the horrific treatment of the animals, who were found in stomach-churning conditions that were so bad the house where they were located was condemned and bulldozed to the ground.
"I don't think it sends a very strong message as such," she said.
Pierce, who said she had tears in her eyes when the sentence was delivered, has raised around $12,000 to help care for the beleaguered dogs. She said she was "devastated" when she heard about the puppy mill.
The dogs were crated two and three to a cage in some cases and had fought among themselves. Some had lost ears and parts of their jaws. Inbreeding was rampant and the animals lived in layers of their own waste. Laporte had been breeding the dogs for sale.
Joncas, who is suing the Quebec government over lax animal-cruelty laws, said Quebec is considered "the puppy mill capital of Canada." She estimated there are about 2,000 such mills.
She said one way to begin to rectify matters would be to put pets under the responsibility of the provincial Public Security Department instead of the Agriculture Department, which is more concerned with animals in the food chain.
"These are helpless creatures," she said of domestic animals. "They can't defend themselves."
Comment: Our laws protecting animals are totally inadequate, and this sentence is a reflection of that. B.C. has its share of puppy mills, some of which have been in business for decades. They need to be shut down. The pet exploitation business is booming, and animals are suffering. There are numerous sites regarding this issue, with information on how you can fight back and have them investigated. Your local humane society or a rescue organization can also advise you on how to proceed.
A COMPANION ANIMAL IS FOR LIFE - if you think you're ready - CONTACT A SHELTER OR RESCUE GROUP. NEVER BUY FROM A BROKER OR PET STORE. IT'S A VILE INDUSTRY WHERE GREED IS THE MOTIVATING FACTOR!
Comment: She should never have dogs or animals of any kind again. Excuses, excuses, excuses. If these were kids, you can be sure the stories wouldnít wash.
April 10, 2015 update: Beverly Jean Creed has been fined $10,000 and barred from owning more than two animals at a time after entering a guilty plea in connection to the June 2014 seizure of more than 30 dogs from a home in the 8000 block of Addison Drive S.E. According to Brad Nichols, Calgary Humane Societyís manager of cruelty investigations, the fine is the largest Animal Cruelty penalty case in Calgaryís history. Source: CTV News
Comment: Oftentimes, individuals in similar circumstances, with similar issues, whether they are breeders or not, keep their animals in deplorable conditions, and support each other. Whether they simply donít want to acknowledge it, donít realize they have mental health issues, or are motivated solely by greed, the bottom line is that whether itís a dog, rabbit, or any other animal, it is they who suffer.
Officers found many of the dogs in crates stacked to the ceiling and covered in urine and feces. Vents in the home were clogged with animal hair and the furniture had been torn up. The home was deemed unfit for human habitation.