P.E.I. woman found guilty of animal cruelty, banned from owning animals in Canada for 5 years

Sandra Helen Tomalin, 75, has been found guilty of animal cruelty in connection to one of the cats seized from her Spring Valley property in January 2016.

Sandra Helen Tomalin, 75, charged in connection with cat seized from Spring Valley property

Sandra Tomalin talked to CBC shortly after her horses were seized in 2010 in New Brunswick. (CBC)

Sandra Helen Tomalin, 75, has been found guilty of animal cruelty in connection to one of the cats seized from her Spring Valley, P.E.I., property in January 2016.

The judge has banned her from owning any animals in Canada for five years and she'll be on probation for two years. She was also ordered to pay a $100 fine within two years.

The cat, Rufus, was one of 11 cats and two dogs seized by animal control officers. The officers began visiting Tomalin's property in June 2015 due to concerns over the animals.

During Tomalin's trial last month, animal control officers described finding a "filthy" home with floors, counters and furniture covered with large amounts of urine, feces, blood or diarrhea.

A veterinarian at the trial described Rufus as emaciated, dirty, with a suspected respiratory infection and a parasitic infection. The vet said the cat had to be euthanized to end his suffering.
Rufus was seized from Tomalin's property, and later euthanized. (PEI Humane Society)

Health issues

Tomalin had already been banned from owning animals in Ontario and New Brunswick due to failing to provide for animals there.

Tomalin's lawyer told the court Tuesday her client has been dealing with health issues this year.

"She's an older person who probably in all seriousness believes that she was doing the right thing in trying to care for the animals," said Crown prosecutor, John Diamond.

It's sad all the way around- John Diamond, Crown prosecutor

"It was a situation where it required us to step up," he said. "Five years is reasonable in the circumstances."

"It's sad all the way around," he added. "It's sad for her, it's sad for the animal that suffered and had to be euthanized. It's just unfortunate circumstances."

Sandra Tomalin appeared in court in Summerside, P.E.I., on Tuesday. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Humane Society wanted lifetime ban

The P.E.I. Humane Society is disappointed the judge didn't hand down a lifetime ban. 

"Given the history of severe neglect, it has been proven that Tomalin was unable to provide adequate care to animals in her care," said Jennifer Harkness, the society's development coordinator in an email to CBC.

"Our animal protection officers will ensure there are no animals at the residence and any on the Tomalin property will be seized immediately."

With files from Laura Meader