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Ontario SPCA responds to false accusations of animal cruelty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - CHATHAM, ON (March 18, 2016) - In October of 2015, a joint investigation of a suspected dog fighting operation between the Chatham-Kent Police Service and the Ontario SPCA resulted in four people being arrested and over 300 charges being laid under the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Dog Owner's Liability Act.

As a result of the investigation, a number of fighting dogs came into the custody of the Ontario SPCA. All dogs received urgent treatment and care and were assessed for temperament and behaviour by experts from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). 21 of the dogs are not candidates for rehabilitation, are dangerous to other animals and people and are some of the most game dogs the experts at the ASPCA have ever seen; these dogs have the highest will to fight.

Today, in Chatham court, the Crown and the lawyer for the accused attended to set a date for a pre-trial hearing.

Lawyer John Nunziata, representing Dog Tales, a dog rescue in King Township, Ontario, attended to make application to have the 21 dogs transferred to Dog Tales Rescue.

The application could not be heard today as the Judge found that lawyer John Nunziata did not properly file and serve the court documents.

In a statement to the press today, lawyer John Nunziata has falsely accused the Ontario SPCA of cruelty towards 21 dogs in their care. "Mr. Nunziata has acted irresponsibly and recklessly in providing completely fictitious information to the media," said Brian Shiller, a lawyer working with the Ontario SPCA.

"When he telephoned me to talk about the issues, Mr. Nunziata candidly admitted that he does not know much about animal welfare legislation. However, he was very quick to jump to threats that he would use his political connections to pressure the government to provide the dogs to his clients," said Shiller. "I was very clear with him that he would have to deal with the Crown Attorney handling the matter in Chatham, but I got the distinct impression that he did not really understand how the process works."

"We are providing a high level of care to these dogs and anyone alleging otherwise does not know what they are talking about," said Senior Inspector Jennifer Bluhm, Ontario SPCA.

"Our role is also to provide educated, expert information on these animals, so the courts can make an informed decision on the outcome of the dogs. Knowing what we know about these dogs and the danger they place on the public, other animals and themselves, it would be irresponsible not to share this vital information with the courts," said Senior Inspector Bluhm.

The Ontario SPCA thanks the public who have come forward to support the care of the dogs and the industry experts who have taken the time to work with these dogs. We will continue to update the public as we have more information to share.

Media contact:
Alison Cross
Ontario SPCA
905-853-2108

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.

OntarioSPCA.ca
Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate
Charitable Business Number 88969 1044 RR0002

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