Animal seizure

Thirty birds were among the 143 animals seized from a Fredericton home. (CBC)

A Fredericton woman will be sentenced March 4 after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to properly provide for animals.

Cynthia Ann Rubec appeared in court Friday.

She was charged in connection with the seizure of 143 animals from her home at 8 Hossack St. in December. The menagerie seized included everything from dogs and cats to exotic birds, potbellied pigs and chinchillas.

The court heard Rubec turned to animals to cope following the breakup of a personal relationship in 2000.

Defence attorney Charles Kingston said Rubec would take in stray and injured animals and people began to take advantage of her generosity and she became overwhelmed.

Rubec addressed the court in tears and said she was sorry for her failure to help the animals.

"I wasn't able to say no," she said.

"I ended up getting in over my head."

"I ended up being a hoarder and just like the people I wanted to help."

Crown prosecutor Hilary Drain and the defence attorney made a joint sentencing recommendation to the judge that included:

  • A fine of between $2,000 and $5,000;
  • Spot inspections of 8 Hossack St. by SPCA inspectors be allowed daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.;
  • Rubec be allowed to keep 15 parrots, two cats and one dog;
  • Rubec's home be inspected one week before the return of the animals;
  • Rubec agrees to spay or neuter the dog and two cats she is permitted;
  • All animals be checked by a veterinarian within two months at Rubec's expense;
  • The SPCA receive the veterinarian's report;
  • Rubec donate $2,500 to the SPCA within six months.

Kingston said prohibiting Rubec from owning animals would be cruel and unusual punishment.

However, provincial court Judge Julian Dickson said he wasn't convinced Rubec should not be prohibited from owning animals at least for a period of time and reserved his decision until March 4.