'Challenge of province hopping': How offenders with history of cruelty obtained animals despite ban
B.C. SPCA says cases need to be brought under the Criminal Code rather than provincial statutes
A pair of repeat animal abuse offenders, banned from owning animals, are once again facing legal repercussions after eight dogs were seized last week, raising questions about why they were able to keep obtaining animals despite past offences.
Karin Adams was arrested last Tuesday after the dogs were discovered in an Alberta motel room, distressed and in poor condition, just two weeks after she was named by the B.C. SPCA as being one of the women keeping 16 dogs in poor conditions in Quesnel, B.C.
Adams and her adult daughter, Catherine, are still awaiting charges.
Karen Robless lived near the Adams' in Quesnel and said people in the community were aware of the women's history with animals.
She told Carolina de Ryk, the host of CBC's Daybreak North, she feels "a mixture of anger, fear and frustration" they were able to so quickly get ahold of more animals and were not being monitored.
Long history of cruelty
Marcie Moriarty, the chief prevention and enforcement officer with the B.C. SPCA, said she shares Robless' frustration because of the pair's long history of animal cruelty.
In 2014, more than 100 animals — including 18 horses, 18 dogs and 15 birds — were found malnourished and neglected.
Both mother and daughter were banned from owning animals in B.C. for 20 years and Karin faced jail time.
Within months of their sentencing, more than 50 animals were seized from the women in Hanna, Alberta.
"Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20 but that ban only applied in [B.C.] because it was under the provincial statute versus the Criminal Code which would have had application across Canada," Moriarty said.
That means the SPCA can only intervene based on a breach, relying on public complaints, because the law currently doesn't allow them to remove the animals unless they are found in distress.
"That's the challenge with province hopping. All the provinces have some type of animal cruelty provincial legislation, so we're really working towards utilizing the Criminal Code more," she said.
She said she hopes this case will be the final straw for the Adams.
"Our courts are backed up, and they don't tend to jail people right off the bat," she said.
"We are hoping though that, finally, we will see that type of sentence come down in this particular case … We need to be, and we will, be proceeding via the Criminal Code."
With files from Daybreak North.