01 Mar

Hanna woman convicted on animal cruelty charges involving horses, dogs and birds

  • Canada

Charges against mother, who was also convicted in B.C. animal cruelty case in 2014, were dismissed

A southern Alberta woman has been convicted of animal cruelty.

Catherine Adams was convicted after nine malnourished horses, 25 dogs and 17 birds were seized from their property in Hanna, northeast of Calgary, in 2015.

Charges against Catherine's mother, Karin, were dismissed.

The women represented themselves in court. Catherine testified on her own behalf, while Karin did not.

In her comments about the trial, Judge Judith Shriar described Catherine as a confident, articulate and a highly intelligent woman, before adding that she was somewhat arrogant.

"That characteristic undermined her credibility, at least in my opinion," Shriar said.

She added that there were inconsistences with the woman's version of events.

"I believe all of the animals referred to — and perhaps others — were subject to pain and suffering," Shriar said.

The judge said based on the testimony and evidence presented, it appeared Karin Adams had been in charge of caring for the birds, and that there was not enough evidence to show they were willfully neglected or harmed — leading to the dropped charges.

Sentencing for Catherine Adams has been put off for several months after the judge ordered a pre-sentence report.

Animals also seized in B.C.

Abigail Gosselin is a dog owner from Red Deer who became involved with the Adams when she was looking for a new home for her three dogs. She says they responded to her ad on Kijiji.

"They said they had a farm and they had an old dog there, a Newfie," Gosselin said. "And that the Newfie was old and that my dogs would have a good life there — could run around, and play."

But Gosselin says within a couple of days she got a bad feeling, based on photos they were sending her of the dogs. But when she asked for her pets back, she says the Adams refused. 

 "And then I started to really worry … I was worried about the dogs," said Gosselin.

About two months later she got a call from RCMP saying they had found one of her pets on the Adams' property during the seizure. She doesn't know what happened to her other two dogs.

"Despicable, you know, it just grieves me," she said.

"You don't treat an innocent animal like that, you don't. If you have a soul you just don't, you can't."

In 2014, Catherine and Karin Adams were banned in British Columbia from owning animals for 20 years, after constables seized 18 horses, 18 dogs, 15 birds, two cats and 104 fish from a property near Houston, B.C. The animals were malnourished and kept in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions. 

The Adams were required to pay nearly $5,500 in restitution to the B.C. SPCA to cover care costs, and to stay in regular contact with the B.C. ministry of justice.

In that case, Karin Adams was sentenced to 15 days in jail and two years probation, while Catherine was given six months conditional house arrest and three years' probation.

CBC News