This is an interesting story about conflict between two people with very different attitudes towards companion animals.
On the one hand we have Gail Benoit, who sees companion animals as “things” to trade for profit without regard to health and welfare. She was convicted of animal cruelty for selling sick and malnourished puppies in 2009. In June 2014, Benoit was put on probation for 15 months for stealing and selling a couple of dogs from a woman in New Brunswick. She was selling online on the website: Kijiji at least on one occasion.
As a result I can describe her attitude towards animals as immoral and unethical. She’s the sort of person I detest.
On the other hand we have animal welfare advocate, Sonya Higgins who rescues and helps stray and feral cats.
They met in court room in Dartmouth, USA. Benoit was there on another charge. This time for allegedly selling cats without a veterinary certificate of health. She had also allegedly refused to provide information required by an Inspector or Peace Officer in the performance of his/her duties.
Higgins was sitting directly in front of Benoit (not a good idea). The contretemps kicked off when Higgins provocatively photographed Benoit on her cellphone. Benoit objected (surprised?).
“I hope you’re not taking photos of me…”
“I hope you’re not stealing cats.”
You can feel the hatred between the two. Benoit escalated things when she called over a sheriff. The judge, Justice Flora Buchan, had yet to enter the court room. The sheriff took Higgins to one side and told her to stop taking photos. Fair enough. It is universally forbidden to take photos in court. I guess Higgins felt she could surreptitiously sneak one in.
When Higgins went back to her seat Benoit leant over and threatened her:
“You, you should be taking pictures of yourself. Look at ya. Just look at ya. You better watch yourself when you’re out of here.”
This gave Higgins the opportunity to complain about Benoit to the police. The police had a word with Benoit but decided the threat was not severe enough to warrant a charge.
Later Higgins said:
“It’s not acceptable to threaten people and I’m not going to take it. I don’t accept intimidation…”
In typical court process style, the hearing was adjourned until August 5th. Courts are not the fastest moving organisations. It is not often two people from the opposite ends of the spectrum on animal welfare meet. I guess the result was predicable.
Sources: three website. The main one is this one.