Hamilton woman convicted of animal cruelty


HAMILTON ON (November 27, 2013) - Dawn Kowalchuk of Hamilton was convicted on one count of animal cruelty (cause to permit unnecessary pain, suffering) under the Criminal Code (Canada) on November 8, 2013.

Charges were laid in June 2013 by an Officer of the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (HBSPCA). Porche, a senior Pit Bull type dog had been found at the residence of Ms. Kowalchuk in pain, emaciated and with severe eye distress.

Porche was taken immediately to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic (EVC). The attending veterinarian at EVC rated the dog’s pain level a 9 out of 10, and determined she had been severely neglected. The veterinarian felt no humane treatment options were available in order to relieve the distress. The only course of action to help the dog was humane euthanasia.

An HBSPCA Protection Officer seized the remains of Porche under a Criminal Code search warrant and a necropsy was completed under warrant. The pathologist confirmed the veterinarian’s assessment, and in addition to the emaciation and disfigurement of the face as a result of the eye conditions, Porche would have been suffering in pain for a significant period of time.


Ms. Kowalchuk is under probation for 12 months. In addition, Ms. Kowalchuk is required to
• Notify the HBSPCA of her current address and any change in address;
• Provide a list of animals in her care and custody every month;
• Ensure any animals in her care and custody are examined every 6 months by a veterinarian, follow up on any recommendations for care, and submit the veterinarian’s reports to the HBSPCA within 7 days of their availability; and
• Participate in counselling as deemed appropriate by her probation officer.

“It is some measure of justice that Ms. Kowalchuk is under probation with accompanying conditions for responsible pet ownership” says Sarah Mombourquette, Protection Officer with the HBSPCA.” Porche suffered greatly and unnecessarily.”

This case is one of the 17 Provincial Offenses Act charges and the 17 criminal code charges laid by the HBSPCA Protection Department HBSPCA to date in 2013. Three (3) cases have been resolved in court and 4 cases are still before the courts. Additional charges are expected to be laid in 2 separate cases still under investigation.



The Hamilton/Burlington Shelter for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a private, non-profit charity. The HBSPCA is a 100% donor based organisation; there are no public or dedicated funds to protect animals from people, teach responsible pet ownership and care for animals in our companion animal hospital, kennels and foster homes. The HBSPCA matches about 2,000 animals with forever homes each year.

HBSPCA Contact
Paula Golding
Executive Assistant, Office of the President and CEO
Hamilton/Burlington SPCA
Tel: 905-574-7722 ext. 350