Editorial: bring them to justice

The Adams women, convicted of animal cruelty in 2015, need harsher sentencing, major rehabilitation

The recent news that 16 dogs were seized by the SPCA from a home in Quesnel is a tragic tale.

Even more distressing is that the mother and daughter who owned the dogs have a long and sordid history of animal cruelty charges.

When the Observer posted the original story online, some of our Black Press colleagues from Smithers and Alberta reached out with more information on the pair, after having reported on their previous trials.

One of the pair, Catherine Adams, was found guilty of animal cruelty in Alberta earlier this year, and she’s due back in court to be sentenced in August.

But both Catherine and her mother Karin have been banned from owning animals since 2015, after their first conviction for animal cruelty. They were ordered to undergo counselling and had to pay the BC SPCA $5,456 in veterinary costs at that time.

A 20-year ban. That would mean the pair should not own animals until 2035.

And yet in the past 24 months, they have been caught twice with suffering animals in their custody.

Something is not right with this picture.

How can these women continue to obtain animals, against the conditions of their 2015 sentence, and hold onto them for long enough to inflict harm on the dogs, or in the case in Alberta, also horses and birds?

As the BC SPCA website explains, on a page entitled, “Why don’t animal abusers go to jail?”, the SPCA can only recommend charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. Crown Counsel must prosecute, and the judge must determine sentencing. The maximum fine possible for an offender is $75,000, and the maximum jail time two years under the PCA Act.

Under the Criminal Code, offenders can be sentenced to jail time for up to five years.

The Adams women have so far only been sentenced for their 2015 conviction. Counselling was probably very much needed; however, it doesn’t seem to have made an impact.

Catherine will be sentenced for her Alberta conviction next month, after a pre-sentence report has been delivered to the judge. The charges in Alberta relate to nine malnourished horses, 25 dogs and 17 birds.

It seems clear that the 16 dogs in Quesnel was probably only a starting point. Had they been left to their own devices, the Adams pair would almost certainly have added to their sickly menagerie.

Hats off to locals who recognized what was happening and alerted the authorities.

We can only hope that for this, and the Alberta conviction, justice is truly served; but additionally, that the Adams women are put on some kind of rehabilitation program. Because the maximum sentences are relatively short: we need assurances these women understand what they are doing wrong.

Quesnel Cariboo Observer

READ MORE: B.C. man charged with two counts of animal cruelty after 46 dogs seized


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