Geraldine Teeple castrated her dog using a rubber band Arden, Ontario, Canada September, 2001

An Arden-area woman is on trial for wilfully causing pain to an animal after humane society inspectors discovered a dog with its testicles tightly wrapped with elastic bands last September.

The testicles of a chihuahua named Oliver were gangrenous and eventually dropped off while the animal was at the shelter.

Geraldine Teeple, who is alleged to have performed the procedure, was charged, as was the owner of the dog.

As the Crown presented its evidence against Teeple before Mr. Justice Paul Megginson, the issues raised quickly stretched beyond a single case of alleged cruelty.

Wrapping the testicles, horns or tails of animals so tightly that blood flow is stopped - a practice known as banding - is commonly done to newborn pigs, goats, bulls and other livestock by farmers.

Charges aren't laid against farmers who band animals, and the equipment used, known as Elastrators, can be bought at farm-supply stores.

The Crown argues that in this instance, Teeple caused pain and suffering to the animal. Teeple's lawyer, Hubert Hogle, argued that farmers perform such practices routinely without fear of being charged.  He also argued that neutering animals is done for behavioral and economic reasons rather than for the animal's benefit, suggesting that Teeple caused no more pain to an animal than is done for economic gain or convenience by other members of society.

"Isn't this done by farmers with a razor blade and a can of turpentine every day of the week?" he asked Dr. Koos Toxeopeus, a Kingston vet who examined Oliver.  "Every day of the week," agreed Toxeopeus, who has been practicing for more than 30 years.

Update 11/8/02:

Teeple, age 45, has been found guilty of wilfully causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.  Teeple was fined $300 by Justice Paul Megginson in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Justice Megginson called the use of castration rings to block the flow of blood to the testes, causing them to rot and drop off, "abominable".  She was wilfully blind and reckless, therefore there is a finding of guilty concluded Justice Megginson.  The judge did not prohibit Teeple from keeping animals.

Teeple used the device to tightly wrap elastic bands around the scrotums of 2 small dogs, first Tonka, then Oliver, the latter of which led to charges when neighbors reported it to the humane society.

Teeple based her opinion that banding, as the practice is known, is a safe and painless way of castrating a dog largely on the opinion of her brother-in-law, a cab driver according to the court.

Justice Megginson also stated the case is not about whether the procedure is OK, it clearly isn't and should be banned, but it would be up to Parliament to specifically ban its use on domestic animals.

Teeple was cross examined at length by prosecutor Ross Drummond.  He also questioned how she could apply iodine daily to the dogs genitals and the open wound that remained after the testicles dropped off, as she testified she did, without the dog showing signs of discomfort.

Teeple maintained that the dog showed no signs of pain during the procedure or afterwards as his scrotum turned gangrenous and rotted away.  Drummond pressed on about the effects of the procedure and the pain that veterinarians testified the dog must have been in, abruptly ending his cross examination when Teeple made her only admission that banding could have hurt.

Teeple's lawyer, Hubert Hogle, argued that Teeple had no malicious intent.  She castrated the dog, because she had given it to a friend and the man threatened to shoot Oliver because he was urinating in the house and the friend couldn't afford to pay for a neuter.  That man faces a trial next year.

Oliver was taken by the Humane Society and adopted out to another family.


The Kingston Whig Standard