Nova Scotia

Lower Sackville man's jail time for animal cruelty 1st in Nova Scotia, says SPCA

A Lower Sackville man received a 30-day jail sentence and lifetime ban from owning any animals after he pleaded guilty to keeping 19 cats in unhealthy conditions.

Michael Cairns sentenced to 30 days following 2nd conviction under Animal Protection Act

One of 19 cats seized from a Lower Sackville apartment in December 2014. The owner, Michael Cairns, received a 30-day jail sentence in connection with the case. (Nova Scotia SPCA)

A Lower Sackville man who pleaded to keeping 19 cats in "quite horrific" conditions is going to jail for 30 days.

Michael Cairns is the first person in the province to be jailed for animal cruelty, said Nova Scotia SPCA investigator Jo-Anne Landsburg.

It's the man's second conviction for animal cruelty. In 2013, he received 18 months probation during which he was prohibited from owning animals. He was also ordered to pay $1,663 in restitution to the SPCA, which was never received.

'Horrific' conditions

"I would say that added to it [severity of the sentence]. It was an extreme situation," Landsburg said.

"The conditions were quite horrific. The ammonia smell was extreme, there was feces everywhere, there was no clean area whatsoever in the apartment. The cats were hiding in cupboards, in drawers, closets. There was no food or water present when we were there."

A cat is shown with an empty food bag, surrounded by feces. Owner Michael Cairns was handed a 30-day jail sentence for animal cruelty involving 19 cats. (Nova Scotia SPCA)

The SPCA said got a complaint about a terrible smell coming from Cairn's apartment on Dec. 11, 2014. Officers went to the residence Dec. 18 and removed the animals. Nine had to be euthanized

Lifetime ban

Landsburg said the rest have had veterinarian care and been adopted.

Cairns also banned for life from owning any animals and prohibited from residing in a home where animals reside. He'll be on probation for 12 months after his release and must pay $2,000 restitution to the Nova Scotia SPCA.


  • Michael Cairns was sentenced in 2013 under a section of the Canadian Criminal Code, not the Animal Protection Act. He was ordered to pay restitution of $1,663, not $1,000. Incorrect information was contained in an earlier version of the story.
    Oct 21, 2016 4:04 PM AT