Tavistock man sentenced in death of more than 1,000 pigs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SIMCOE, ON (April 26, 2018) – A 28-year-old Tavistock man has been sentenced to a lifetime prohibition on owning or caring for animals following an investigation into the death of over a thousand pigs in his care.

On April 26, 2018 in a Norfolk County Provincial Offences Court, Ben Stein was sentenced by a Justice of the Peace to the following:

  1. Lifetime prohibition on owning, caring for, or being in control of any animal in the business of husbandry
  2. Unannounced inspections by Ontario SPCA officers for a period of 10 years
  3. Probation of two years during which time he must not commit any offence or similar offence; appear, when required, to court; notify the court of any change of address; report to probation services when and as directed
  4. Ordered to pay $10,000 to the Ontario SPCA

Stein pled guilty on January 18, 2018 to four counts of animal cruelty under the Ontario SPCA Act:

  • Permitting an animal to be in distress
  • Failing to provide adequate and appropriate sanitary conditions
  • Failing to provide adequate and appropriate ventilation
  • Failing to provide adequate and appropriate medical attention

On February 17, 2017, Ontario SPCA officers attended a pig farm in Langton, located approximately 80 kilometres southeast of London, after receiving a concern about the welfare of pigs on the property. Upon entering a flooded, manure-filled barn in total darkness, the officers discovered dead and dying pigs.

The Ontario SPCA officers, with the assistance of two veterinarians and a representative of Ontario Pork, moved the surviving animals to a dry, well-lit area of the barn where they could be triaged.

An estimated 1,265 pigs were dead when officers arrived and an additional 250 pigs had to be euthanized on-site due to the severe condition in which they were found.

“We are pleased that today’s sentencing includes a lifetime prohibition on owning animals,” says Bonnie Bishop, Senior Inspector – Farm Animal Welfare, Ontario SPCA. “That’s a critical step in protecting animals from this individual in the future. The level of neglect and suffering that these animals endured is horrible to imagine. Abandoning an animal to starve to death, or failing to provide the basic care of an animal, will not be tolerated.”

To report animal cruelty, call the Ontario SPCA’s province wide animal cruelty hotline at 310-SPCA (7722).



Melissa Kosowan        
Ontario SPCA


Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, the Ontario SPCA is Ontario's animal welfare organization. A registered charity, the Society is comprised of close to 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.

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

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