Not guilty: Edmonton Humane Society employee on trial for leaving three cats in a van for three weeks

EDMONTON, CANADA: You may remember this case from spring 2018. It was quite high profile at the time and was treated as a serious event by the Humane Society resulting in Mariah Berini being charged with causing or permitting animals to be in distress under the Animal Protection Act and failing to provide adequate food or water to animals. Read an earlier post.

My recollection of the event is that two employees of the Humane Society one of them being Mariah Berini picked up 19 cats and 4 dogs at a Grande Praire animal facility on March 27. They were loaded into the van but not cross-checked with paperwork. At the point of delivery in Edmonton at 4:30 PM it was found that there was paperwork relating to 3 male cats – Lucky, Chance and Magic – but no animals.

Case paperwork showing on of the cats
Case paperwork showing on of the cats. These are screenshots.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Mariah Berini and a co-worker checked inside the van through a side door but did not go into the van to check more thoroughly. Later in the evening Mariah Berini received a text message from another employee asking about the three missing cats.

It was stated by the prosecutor in court that Mariah Berini did nothing in reponse to the text message and the information contained in it, and in fact ignored it. As a consequence, Lucky, Chance and Magic were left in the transport van for 22 days and were found dehydrated with burns from urine on their feet. A vet couldn’t understand how they had survived. They were eventually rehomed successfully. The prosecutor argued that she was in charge of the animals because she signed the paperwork and failed them so there should be consequences.

In defence they stated that this was a team effort and a mistake. The defence also argued that there was not enough evidence to convict her (an application to dismiss the case) and that she was entitled to protection under the Animal Protection Act. Comment: there must be a get out clause in the act or terms of the act allow for mistakes such as this one. Their defence was successful and Mariah Berini was acquitted. The case was reported by CTV News.

As a result of the case, Edmonton Humane Society now transports animals under a new protocol which includes a pre-and post-trip vehicle inspection, animal tracking forms and in addition there must be two drivers on trips over 100 kilometres. Further, with trips over seven hours they require the drivers to stay overnight by which I take to mean that they must break it up with an overnight rest.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo