Greenstone man gets lifetime ban on owning animals after pleading guilty to cruelty charges

by | Media Releases |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Greenstone, ON (April 16, 2018) – A 44-year-old Greenstone man has been sentenced to a lifetime ban on owning or caring for animals after pleading guilty to three counts of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada and one charge under the Ontario SPCA Act.

On April 10, 2018, John O’Nabigon Jr. pled guilty in an Ontario Court of Justice in Thunder Bay to the Criminal Code charges of willfully causing unnecessary suffering, and willfully neglecting to provide suitable and adequate care of 31 dogs, as well as killing three dogs without willful and lawful cause. He also pled guilty to the Ontario SPCA Act charge of causing distress.

O’Nabigon was sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence on each count, one-year probation and a lifetime ban on owning, caring for or keeping any species of animals on any property he owns or rents. He was also ordered to pay $27,203 in restitution to the Thunder Bay & District Humane Society (TBDHS)

On February 7, 2017, snowmobilers called the Greenstone OPP after discovering a large number of dogs owned by O’Nabigon that were tethered in a remote wilderness location near Longlac. Three dogs of the 15 dogs at the site were deceased and the remaining 12 were emaciated. The dogs were removed by the OPP, with assistance of Greenstone-based animal welfare organization Want a Pet?, the individuals who found the dogs, and the TBDHS, who also provided guidance and assistance. The dogs were placed into the care of the TBDHS, where they received immediate and ongoing veterinary attention and care.

On March 31, 2017, an Ontario SPCA officer and OPP attended O’Nabigon’s residence in Longlac and found more 17 more dogs in a state of distress. The dogs did not have appropriate shelter, and no food or water available to them. O’Nabigon voluntarily surrendered the dogs on his property, and inside his house, to the TBDHS. They also received immediate veterinary care and  were all deemed to be underweight, except for one dog.

“The level of neglect and suffering that many of these animals endured is horrible to imagine.  Abandoning an animal to starve to death, or simply failing to provide the basic care of an animal, will not be tolerated,” says Lynn Michaud, Senior Inspector, Ontario SPCA. “If you are unable to care for your animals, contact your local Ontario SPCA Animal Centre, or Humane Society. With the resources available in today’s society, there is no excuse for allowing an animal to suffer.”

To report animal cruelty, contact 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.

Thank you so much for all you do

Thank you so much for all you do every day to rescue animals in need. I can’t imagine the terrible situations that you see every day.  It is great that you have the heart to help. Keep up the good work.