November 12, 2015
Since 1954, the North Bay & District Humane Society, an Affiliate of the Ontario SPCA, has been a key service provider within our community. In addition to sheltering animals, the Society is a law enforcement organization that provides excellent care to thousands of animals every year. We work with industry experts to improve animal welfare in the region and are committed to our role as the leader in animal welfare in North Bay Region.
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 Rebecca and Randy Ashworth of the Laika Fund for Street Dogs rescue, regarding the animals in their care.
Rebecca and Randy Ashworth subsequently surrendered one dog, “Holly”, into the care of the North Bay & District Humane Society. 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 Rebecca and Randy Ashworth to ensure the 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 be removed from Rebecca and Randy Ashworth. Eight cats were voluntarily surrendered to the Society by Rebecca and Randy Ashworth at that time. Additional orders were issued for the animals remaining in the care of Rebecca and Randy Ashworth.
The case is currently before the Animal Care Review Board (ACRB) and the case is being heard in North Bay, ON this week.
Earlier today, the North Bay Police Services attended the North Bay & District Humane Society and were shown every animal in our care, including strays and animals owned by the Humane Society.
The magnitude of the cost to care for these animals is an obvious indication of our level of commitment to their well being. This is an enormous financial burden on the North Bay & District Humane Society but, we are committed to the treatment, healing and well being of these dogs.
The Peace Officers, staff and volunteers of the North Bay & District Humane Society have provided exemplary care, service and commitment throughout the investigation of animal cruelty allegations against Rebecca and Randy Ashworth and the Laika Fund for Street Dogs rescue of Trout Creek, Ontario.
On October 31, 2015, Rebecca Ashworth, Randy Ashworth and their son Michael Ashworth of Trout Creek, Ontario were each 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.
A court date regarding these charges is pending.
As a law enforcement agency, entrusted to maintain and enforce provincial animal welfare legislation, the Ontario SPCA and its Affiliate Societies, like the North Bay & District Humane Society, do occasionally receive negative attention from those charged with animal cruelty. The position of individuals charged with animal cruelty does not deter us from our role in animal protection.
North Bay & District Humane Society
Director, Marketing & Communications