Recommend and approve provincial and federal animal neglect and cruelty charges against April Dawn Irving and, if she is convicted, enforce the maximum penalty available, including a lifetime ban on owning animals under S. 447.1 of the Criminal Code.
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April Dawn Irving has been the subject of the seizure of 319 dogs in 3 separate incidents in 2 different provinces over the past 8 years. In the most recent case, 201 dogs were seized from a farm near Milk River, Alberta in January, 2015. The dogs were suffering from numerous injuries and ailments, including “gaping wounds, broken bones and malnutrition.” As if this story wasn’t horrific enough, according to an article by Michael Platt of QMI Agency, in 2007 the Alberta SPCA seized 36 Huskies and Wolfhounds from a northern Alberta kennel run by Irving. In 2010, officers from the Saskatchewan SPCA seized 82 dogs from a property near the town of Leslie, Saskatchewan. In the 2010 case, Irving was charged and convicted under the Saskatchewan Animal Protection Act. She was found guilty of “non-criminal neglect” and fined $5,000, the highest penalty available at the time. She was also banned from owning more than two dogs at a time for a period of 10 years. Unfortunately, prohibitions on animal ownership instituted under provincial legislation are only enforceable in the province in which the prohibition was ordered. Thus, despite the fact that Ms. Irving was banned from owning animals for 10 years in Saskatchewan in 2010, she simply moved to Alberta and was LEGALLY able to own more than 2 dogs in that province. Had she been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada rather than provincial legislation, if convicted, Ms. Irving could have been prohibited from owning animals and that prohibition would have applied across Canada. This is a serious gap in Canada’s animal cruelty and neglect legislation which needs to be addressed. Unfortunately the best that can be done at this time to address situations like this is to charge someone under the federal Criminal Code animal cruelty legislation and, if convicted, order a prohibition under that legislation that can then be enforced across the country.
Given April Irving’s previous history and conviction for animal neglect, we respectfully request that decision-makers charge her under the Alberta Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code of Canada legislation and, if convicted, that they enforce the maximum penalty available, including a prohibition on owning, having the custody or control of or residing in the same premises as an animal or a bird for the rest of her life in accordance with Section 447.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
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