Woman who abandoned 52 pets for 16 days allowed to keep 2

A New Brunswick woman who abandoned 52 pets in her trailer home for 16 days, while she vacationed in Florida, will be allowed to keep two animals, a judge has ordered.

Donalda Donahue, of Memramcook, N.B., sentenced to house arrest, ordered to take SPCA class

A New Brunswick woman who abandoned 52 pets in her trailer home for 16 days, while she vacationed in Florida, will be allowed to keep two animals, a judge has ordered.

Donalda Donahue, of Memramcook, who previously pleaded guilty to animal neglect, was given a three month conditional sentence on Monday, including one month of house arrest.

Moncton provincial court Judge Irwin Lampert ​also banned Donahue from owning or caring for animals for 18 months, but said she could keep one dog and one cat.

He also ordered her to take a class from the SPCA to learn how to take care of animals.

SPCA officials seized 35 dogs, three cats, four rabbits, two bearded dragons, a chinchilla, a guinea pig, two ferrets and four hamsters from Donahue's home on March 25 after they received a complaint from neighbours.

Hilary Howes, executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, says one of the dogs was already dead and another one died a short time later. The animals were dehydrated and some were undernourished, he said.

The animal protection officers had expressed "disgust" at the "filth" of the home, where a child also lives, said Howes.

"There was feces all over everything, including the dogs themselves. It was a pretty messy situation," he said.

Howes says he is disappointed the judge did not impose a lifetime ban on Donahue owning animals.

He describes Donahue as an "animal hoarder" and worries if she doesn't get psychological help to deal with the "compulsion" she could be back in the same situation when the 18-month ban expires.

In fact, Howes says he is concerned Donahue has already started collecting more pets.

"We understand that she's increased the number of animals in her house going into the trial up to 19 and we're concerned about what's going to happen to these 17 animals that the judge has now disallowed her from owning for the next 18 months," he said.

The SPCA's shelters across the province are "basically bursting at the seams," said Howes.

It cost the organization more than $5,000 to deal with Donahue's other seized animals, he said.

Donahue could not be reached for comment.

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