Dead dog spurs animal cruelty conviction for Hamilton woman

A Hamilton woman has been convicted of animal cruelty after SPCA officials found a dog in her care suffering in so much pain that it had to be put down. Warning: Story contains graphic images.

Warning: this story contains graphic images

A Hamilton woman has been convicted of animal cruelty after SPCA officials found a dog in her care suffering in so much pain that it had to be put down.

A Hamilton/Burlington SPCA officer visited Dawn Kowalchuk’s home back in June, and found Porche, an emaciated older pit bull with “severe eye distress,” according to an SPCA news release.

Porche had some sort of mass growing behind her eyes that was left untreated, says Sarah Mombourquette, a protection officer with the HBSPCA.

“It’s extremely painful,” Mombourquette said. “This began as a medical issue that was not treated and allowed to continue for a significant period.”

Porche, an older pitbull, was put down after HBSPCA officers found her with massive growths behind her eyes. Her owner has been convicted of animal cruelty but still owns several other pets. (Courtesy HBSPCA)

The dog was rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic, where a vet quickly determined Porche had been “severely neglected.” The vet felt the only humane option was to put the dog down, Mombourquette told CBC Hamilton.

Kowalchuk was convicted of one count of animal cruelty earlier this month, which carries a criminal charge. She is under probation for a year, and is required to:

  • Notify the SPCA of her current address and any change in address
  • Provide a list of animals in her care and custody every month
  • Make sure any animals in her care and custody are examined every six months by a vet, follow up on any recommendations for care, and submit the vet’s reports to the HBSPCA within 7 days of their availability
  • Participate in counselling as deemed appropriate by her probation officer

Mombourquette says Kowalchuk still owns another dog and several cats. The judge chose the sentence she was given which allows her to keep those animals in this case.

“It’s completely their determination in relation to the circumstance,” she said.

“At least it does send a message that you can’t disregard a medical issue.”

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