Charges against two men accused of animal cruelty in connection with a suspected dog fighting ring in Chatham-Kent have been stayed.
Superior Court Justice B.G. Thomas stayed all charges against the two men on Friday because the legal process was taking too long, according to their lawyer, Ken Marley.
"In His Honour's opinion, their right to a trial within a reasonable time ... had been violated," Marley explained in an email to CBC News.
He added the judge's decision means his clients will not go to trial unless new evidence is provided and new charges are laid.
The men were charged after an investigation led by Chatham-Kent police and the OSPCA discovered the alleged animal abuse at a home on Morris Line in near Tilbury in October 2015 and seized 21 dogs.
One person has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for his role in the suspected dog fighting ring.
Robert Tomlin was sentenced to four months of house arrest in August 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of causing pain to dogs.
He faces a lifetime ban from owning animals and will be on probation for two years.
18 of the alleged fighting dogs were facing a potential death sentence, but have since been transported to a rehabilitation facility in Florida.