Media Release - Warning Graphic Images -Three North Bay Residents Charged with Animal Cruelty Ontariospca

Media Release - Warning Graphic Images -Three North Bay Residents Charged with Animal Cruelty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NORTH BAY, ON (November 1, 2015) - Michael Ashworth, Randal Ashworth and Rebecca Ashworth of Trout Creek, Ontario have each been charged with four counts of animal cruelty under the Ontario SPCA Act; one count for permitting an animal to be in distress and three counts for failing to comply with the prescribed Standards of Care.


On May 19, 2015, the North Bay and District Humane Society received a call of concern for a large number of dogs and horses on a Trout Creek property. An Ontario SPCA Inspector attended the property and identified animals in distress, as defined in the Ontario SPCA Act; a number of Ontario SPCA Orders were issued to the Ashworths regarding the animals in their care.

The Ashworths subsequently surrendered one dog, “Holly”, into the care of the North Bay and District Humane Society. Upon admission to the Society’s care, the dog was found to be suffering from a number of untreated medical issues, some of which were causing the dog significant distress.


On July 13, 2015, after attempts to work with the owners to ensure the overall and physical well being of the numerous dogs in their care were unsuccessful, an Ontario SPCA search warrant was executed on the property, with a veterinarian in attendance. The attending veterinarian performed an overall health and environmental assessment. Based on the findings, the veterinarian strongly recommended that the 71 dogs all be removed so as to address their immediate distress. Eight cats were voluntarily surrendered to the Society by the owners at that time. Additional orders were issued for the animals remaining on the property.


The dogs remain in the care of the North Bay and District Humane Society and the Ontario SPCA. One senior dog was euthanized for health reasons, on the recommendation of a veterinarian. The dogs are receiving the care they require, with a number of dogs still needing ongoing medical attention and support.


The case is currently before an Animal Care Review Board (ACRB).



"It is never acceptable to allow an animal to live in distress. Owning a large number of animals is a big responsibility,” says Chief Inspector, Connie Mallory, Ontario SPCA. “This responsibility includes ensuring the animals are cared for, as outlined under the Ontario SPCA Act Standards of Care.”

Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Holden’s testimony at the October ACRB hearing, shared by

Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Holden described a dog named Emily. She had several teeth removed because they were so infected.

“Emily had significant bone loss. It was chronic in nature,” she testified.

And then there was Laika. The dog was missing its lower jaw.

“The dog had five to seven millimetres more tooth exposed than it should,” Holden said.

“The only option was to remove some of the teeth. The teeth would have caused pain every time the dog moved its mouth. You're dealing with a painful mouth.”

Holden said many dogs were in excruciating pain.

She described pictures with entire roots exposed and likely cancerous tumours.

“Dogs hide it well. Dogs don't complain,” Dr. Holden said. “They will continue to eat until they can't.”


The Ashworths first court appearance is scheduled for December 4, 2015 in North Bay, Ontario.


The Animal Care Review Board hearing will resume November 9, 2015 in North Bay, Ontario.


“Leah” was a dog removed by the Ontario SPCA. The Ashworths informed the Society that they had plans to euthanize Leah. The Society brought her to a Veterinarian, who testified that the dog did not need to be euthanized, but rather treated for outstanding medical issues. Leah has since been treated and is pain free. She will continue to live out her life.



laika 1
Figure 1 Emily with Probed Tooth


laika 2
Figure 2 Laika with Decay and Root Exposure


 Media Contact
Alison Cross
Director, Marketing & Communications
Ontario SPCA, Provincial Office


Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:
Protecting animals since 1873, Ontario SPCA is Ontario's Animal Welfare organization. A registered charity comprised of over 50 communities.

 Since 1919, when Ontario's first Animal Welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce Animal Welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors with police powers to do so.

 Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education and Animal Centre.
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