The Town of Tillsonburg is a prosperous community of 16,000 located within Oxford County and is located in Southwestern Ontario. It’s now a safer place for animals since a local woman was recently banned from owning animals for 15 years after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Hopefully, the decision handed down by the court will deter those who choose to neglect their pets.
The case began when investigators from the Ontario SPCA visited the home of Caitlyn Hicks, 24, after they began receiving calls about abandoned animals living in filth. Upon arrival, officers found two dogs, a cat, and a lot of fish. Ontario SPCA inspector Brad Dewar stated the animals were neglected and had no access to food or water. The home was a cesspool of garbage, feces, and urine, with extremely high ammonia levels.
The dogs and cat didn’t suffer any long-term effects but did have to be treated for fleas. They’ve since been adopted after being surrendered by Hicks. When she didn’t show up for her court date in early September the trial was held without her. She was convicted of causing distress to an animal.
In addition to being banned from owning pets for the next 15 years, Hicks was ordered to pay the Ontario SPCA $1,500 to help cover expenses for the care of her animals. She’ll also be on probation for the next two years and will have to submit to unannounced inspections by the OSPCA. Dewar says it’s unknown whether the OSPCA will see any of the money Hicks was ordered to pay.
As for reporting animal abuse, Dewar stated
“We encourage anyone, first if they’re looking for an animal to ensure they understand what the requirements are in Ontario to provide the standard of care. For those within our community who witness something, we encourage them to come forward and report it to our 24-7 call centre.”
His advice holds true regardless of where you live. Know the laws in your area pertaining to pet ownership and be sure to report abuse to your local animal control if you suspect an animal is being neglected or abused. If you’re not pleased with the response from animal control, turn to social media or news outlets. Facebook does a good job at getting animals out of a bad situation.
It’s good to see this length of sentence handed down. Now let’s hope it’s enforced.