A Penticton woman accused of leaving her dogs to suffer outside in the winter, underfed, wet and freezing cold, pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty ahead of her trial Thursday morning. Submitted photo

B.C. pharmacist pleads guilty to animal cruelty charge

Joelle Mbamy was handed $1k fine, on top of $5k fine already imposed, and 10-year animal prohibition

UPDATED:

A Penticton pharmacist has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge, averting a trial at the last minute.

Joelle Mbamy, 57, was charged with three counts relating to animal welfare charges, including cause unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, failing to provide necessaries to an animal and causing an animal to continue to be in distress (the charge she pleaded guilty to).

Mbamy was set for a trial to start Thursday morning, but in court the local pharmacist instead entered a guilty plea, and was ultimately sentenced to a $1,000 fine and a 10-year prohibition against owning animals.

Related: Penticton woman had 6 years of SPCA complaints: documents

In the sentencing hearing, Crown lawyer Alex Janse effectively went over the same details the Western News learned through court documents this week. That included a six-year history of complaints to the B.C. SPCA, dating back to 2011, before her three dogs were seized in January 2017.

Mbamy’s ownership of those three dogs followed the theft of two dogs from her property, who in turn, had replaced another dog that was stolen from the property after initial complaints were filed in 2011.

Janse also noted some of the conditions the dogs were in upon their seizure by the SPCA, particularly the small kennel with feces covering the floor and an empty food bowl.

Related: Animal cruelty trial to last two days

A veterinarian looked over the animals, and a Rottweiler/Labrador retriever cross was rated at a two out of nine body score, with five considered ideal.

“Four would be thin, two is very thin,” Janse said. “The two spaniels were both rated as a one out of nine body condition score, which is considered emaciated. He provided the opinion to the SPCA that the dogs were suffering from neglect.”

The Rottweiler and a spaniel were sent to Kelowna SPCA for care, while the other spaniel remained at the local clinic to get fluids and testing to determine whether it was malnutrition or disease that caused a lack of bodyweight.

Related: Charges laid after dogs left out in the cold

“It was noted that she gained almost two kilograms in four days while under veterinarian care,” Janse said, adding the dog was then released to the SPCA.

Defence and Crown entered a joint submission for a $1,000 fine, on top of a $5,037.87 fine she already paid to the SPCA. but differed in opinions on the length of a prohibition of owning animals. Crown sought a 10-year ban, while defence suggested a five-year prohibition.

Janse said it did not appear to be a case of malice, but rather of negligence, as Mbamy was too busy with work.

Related: Freezing cold and wet; dogs seized from Penticton home

Defence lawyer Julian van der Walle pointed to the success of the family since Mbamy immigrated from France about 20 years ago, calling her an “immigrant who overcame all the odds.”

Van der Walle said Mbamy’s husband died six years ago of liver failure, and has been raising her daughter as a single mother since. Three years ago, Mbamy bought the Sunrise Pharmacy in Penticton.

“My client’s a tremendous asset to the community. She does a group fitness instruction. She’s a personal trainer. Her pharmacy received, in 2014, a Pfizer (Bowl of) Gygeia Award,” van der Walle said.

Related: Mbamy recognized for community service

He added that Mbamy does fundraisers for breakfast programs at schools and provides services for the homeless.

Judge Gregory Koturbash was particularly concerned about the lengthy period of involvement with the SPCA.

“How we treat animals that are in our care and at our mercy is also a very good barometer of a person’s character, and you didn’t do very well on that test,” he said.

Koturbash also appreciated van der Walle’s assertion that the dogs were in good shape a month prior to the SPCA seizure, but cast doubt on her ability to care for animals anytime soon.

“I don’t foresee life getting much easier for you in the sense of business, in the sense of physical abilities to look after the animals. And it’s particularly concerning for me that the SPCA was involved with you for so long. Owning an animal is not a right in our country. It is a privilege,” he said.

“You have foregone that privilege for at least 10 years.”

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

B.C. First Nation adopts historic law to protect Fraser River

?Esdilagh (Alexandria) First Nation leaders enacted the law this week

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Quesnel School District announces principal, vice-principal appointments

Joelle Withey has been appointed to the position of vice-principal at QJSS

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Connor McDavid on NHL format: ‘Not perfect, but it’s the best we got’

Connor McDavid on NHL format: ‘Not perfect, but it’s the best we got’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Most Read