FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - North Bay, ON (August 2, 2016) – Following the Animal Care Review Board Decision of March 2016, which upheld the Ontario SPCA’s actions of removing 71 dogs from the care of Rebecca and Randal Ashworth of North Bay, Ontario on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, the couple negotiated a Superior Court Order to surrender 57 dogs to the Ontario SPCA.  

The 57 dogs have been in the care of the North Bay & District Humane Society and the Ontario SPCA for over one year. During this time they have been receiving excellent ongoing and veterinary care that has resulted in their recovery or stabilization from the conditions and ailments that were causing them distress.  

The Ontario SPCA recently received an email of appreciation from Rebecca Ashworth regarding the dogs recently returned to the couple.

“Well I am very impressed, she [the dog] will be 16 in October, and she looks great! Thank you, I really do appreciate it.

“The four today have settled in instantly, and they all look so good! It was also very considerate of the staff to send the weight control food for Arjana [the dog]. Please express our thanks, and also to Inspector Driscoll and my apologies can't remember the other young lady's name, for spending the day getting them for us.” – Rebecca Ashworth

The Ashworths, who are also directors for the “Laika Fund for Street Dogs,” surrendered the dogs, as part of a negotiated Superior Court Order. Ten dogs were permitted to remain in the care of the couple, as it relates to their municipality’s bylaws. The Superior Court Order also entails the following conditions:

  • The Ashworths must relinquish their municipal kennel license.
  • Detailed housing and veterinary care requirements were outlined for the remaining dogs, as determined in the Animal Care Review Board’s March 1, 2016 decision which the couple must abide by prior to and after the return of the 10 dogs.
  • The Ontario SPCA has been granted inspection, to ensure the animals are receiving the care they require, as outlined under the Ontario SPCA Act and the Superior Court Order.
  • Allowing 10 dogs in be in their care is a one time exception, as it relates to the Municipality of Powassan’s newly amended Animal Control bylaw. Once all 10 dogs have passed on or have been rehomed, the couple must abide by their municipalities’ bylaw limitation of only two dogs per household.
  • The Superior Court Order will take form of an Ontario SPCA compliance order, as per section 13(1) of the Ontario SPCA Act.
  • The Ashworths must pay $225,000 to the Ontario SPCA to help offset a portion of the costs associated to providing the ensuing medical and ongoing care for the animals during the investigation. To date the Society has not seen these funds.

 “We have been working with some wonderful rescues to help us with this,” says Daryl Vaillencourt, Executive Director, North Bay & District Humane Society. “Our staff has cared and loved these dogs like they were their own and we are all so excited that this case is closed and that the dogs are on their way to finding loving homes.”

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. The matter remains ongoing before the Ontario Court of Justice in North Bay, Ontario.


Media Contact

Melissa Kosowan      
Ontario SPCA


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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