David & Leilana Baker
|failed to provide suitable and adequate care for cats and dogs||Priceville, Ontario, Canada||February 16, 2002|
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA) has charged David Baker and Leilani Baker of Priceville, Ont. with animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada related to animals found at a suspected puppy mill at a farm east of Durham.
Three charges were laid March 23, 2002, as follows:
• On or about March 2, 2002, did willfully neglect or fail to provide suitable and adequate care for cats;
• Between February 16, 2002 and March 2, 2002, did willfully neglect or fail to provide suitable and adequate care for dogs; and
• Between February 16, 2002 and March 2, 2002, did willfully permit unnecessary pain to be caused to one dog.
• The individuals will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice, Owen Sound, June 6, 2002.
The charges arise from a cruelty investigation undertaken by the Bruce-Grey Branch of the Ontario SPCA after a tip was received from the public. The Bruce-Grey Branch, in collaboration Ontario SPCA investigators from Stratford, Midland and Barrie as well as two Ontario Provincial Police officers from the Grey County detachment, rescued more than 50 dogs and four cats on March 2 from the Baker's Grey County farm. There were approximately 40 adult small-breed dogs including Pug crosses and spitzes, 10 puppies and four cats.
The animals were transported to the Stratford-based Perth County Branch of the Ontario SPCA where Ontario SPCA staff from that branch as well as from Bruce-Grey, Midland and Barrie administered veterinary assistance and cleaned and groomed the dogs. The animals were then transported for boarding and further care to Stratford, Midland, Barrie and Chatham branches of the Ontario SPCA.
"The animals were confined in terrible conditions," says Jennifer Bluhm, Branch Coordinator and Agent for Bruce-Grey Branch. "Most were found in a barn with temperatures just above zero; no visible heat source; and buckets of water with inches of ice in them. Many of the dogs' coats were matted, with their nails overgrown."
Under the current Criminal Code of Canada, the maximum penalties the Bakers can receive, if convicted of animal cruelty, are: six months in jail; a $2,000 fine; and a two-year ban on owning animals. "These penalties are inadequate," says Jeremy Locke, Senior Inspector for the Ontario SPCA.