New Brunswick

Horse-owning sisters found guilty of mistreatment

Two women have been found guilty of mistreating horses and were sentenced Friday in western New Brunswick.

Two women have been found guilty of mistreating horses and were sentenced Friday in western New Brunswick.

Sisters Beverly and Sandra Tomalin were charged with failing to provide adequate food and shelter and veterinary care.

The women were given an $1,800 fine and are prohibited for 10 years from owning any kind of animal.

They were not given any probation, because Judge Paul Duffie said the SPCA has the right to go on their property at any time.

They have 30 days to appeal.

"It's rotten," Beverly Tomalin told CBC News. She said she intends to appeal the case.

The Crown had asked for a $6,000 fine, a 10-year ban on owning any animals and two years probation.

Duffie said that $6,000 would've been too harsh a penalty given that the the sisters live on a fixed income.

The defence had wanted the fine somewhere in the range of $600 to $1,000, the ban to be two to three years and apply to horses only, and said that probation was not necessary.

Duffie said he chose the 10-year ban because statements made by Sandra Tomalin as recently as Friday lead him to believe that she does not understand the seriousness of the condition these animals were in.

In fact, she told the court before the sentence was delivered that she had never neglected a horse in her life.

Thirty-eight horses were seized from the Tomalin farm in Tilley in July of last year after an animal protection officer received two complaints about the care of the animals. There were 23 adult horses and 15 foals on the farm.

Animal protection officer Lindsay Bishop testified this spring that she made three trips to the farm in 2010 and at the time, the horses looked thin.

During a followup visit, the SPCA found two partially buried carcasses and one dead newborn horse. By that time, Bishop testified, the horses had grown extremely thin.

The SPCA returned on July 13, 2010 with the RCMP and a warrant to seize the animals.