Two men received hefty punishment after the New Brunswick SPCA found a young dog severely injured from being chained up on a property near Neguac.
Bernard Bouchard was charged in Miramichi court with failing to provide a dog with medical attention and with wilful neglect in providing food, water and shelter. He was slapped with $1,321 in fines, a 20-year prohibition against owning any animals, and 45 days of house arrest.
Hugo Bouchard was charged with failing to provide a dog medical attention. He was fined $500 and received the same 20-year prohibition against dog ownership.
Tony Porter, the province's chief animal protection officer with the SPCA, said the punishment was among "the heavier sentences we've seen."
And he was happy to see the sentences.
"Society has to send a message out to these people that want to keep abusing dogs," Porter said.
The SPCA received a tip in June 2022 about a neglected dog named Link in Lavillette on the Acadian Peninsula. They investigated and found a dog suffering injuries from being chained up.
Tony Porter, the New Brunswick SPCA's chief animal protection officer, says the sentences for the two men should send a message to the public about animal abuse. (Submitted)
"The chain was around the dog's neck, and it was around there for such a long period of time that it had gotten embedded into the neck," Porter said.
Officers immediately seized the underweight animal and brought it to a veterinarian for treatment. The dog has since been adopted into a loving home, Porter said.
Even if Link's story ended well, Porter said, the New Brunswick SPCA is seeing an increase in calls and severe cases.
"I don't mind saying, I want this to be a warning to people out there who believe that they're going to get away from such things if they want to mistreat a defenceless animal."
SPCA encourages people to call in any suspected cases
The New Brunswick SPCA has 15 officers across the province who can investigate and press charges in cases involving pets and farm animals.
Porter said there is also a 24-hour hotline to report abuse, and he urged people to call in any instances where they suspect neglect.
"If you're in doubt and not sure, call us up and report that, and we can follow up. And if it's unfounded, that's OK too. It means the animal's fine."
He said reasons for animal neglect range from wilful cruelty to owners going through financial hardship or mental health problems.
"We want the public to know if you're having issues, reach out to the N.B. SPCA, to your family, and if not, reach out to one of the shelters and see about re-homing your animal before it gets to this point," Porter said.
He said if officers have to intervene, as they did with Link, it's not good for either the animal or the owners.
But the 20-year ownership prohibition that both Bouchards received is a good tool to protect animals in the future, Porter said.
As for enforcement, he said officers can periodically check in to make sure the offenders don't have animals on their property. The SPCA will also notify the public of their names.
He said his officers are dedicated to protecting animals, and will do everything they can to make sure offenders are charged.
"If we find out, we will investigate and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice."