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Summerside woman pleads guilty to neglecting two dogs

One of two dogs seized from a Summerside home in October. Both dogs were euthanized.
One of two dogs seized from a Summerside home in September. Both dogs had to be euthanized. - Contributed

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – A Summerside woman has pleaded guilty to willfully causing unnecessary pain and suffering to two dogs by neglecting them and failing to seek medical care for them. 

The P.E.I. Humane Society seized the dogs, both shih tzus, from Cynthia Ann Gallant, 52, in September 2018.

The dogs’ care had been neglected for some time. When they were seized their fur was solidly matted almost everywhere on their bodies, their teeth had decayed, their claws were so long they were curled and their general health had declined.

The veterinarian who examined them concluded that because the dogs were weakened and of an advanced age it was unlikely they would survive the surgeries needed to return them to health. That diagnosis, coupled with animals’ low suitability of being rehomed, resulted in a decision to euthanized them.

Gallant was in court Jan. 3 to answer to the charge against her.

The Crown and Gallant’s attorney, Trish Cheverie, told Judge Jeff Lantz they had reached a joint sentencing recommendation, which Lantz accepted.

The sentence was suspended and Gallant was instead ordered to serve 24 months of probation, perform 30 hours of community service and is prohibited from owning, caring for or living in the same home as a dog for five years. This was Gallant’s first criminal offence.

Cheverie told the court that her client is remorseful and that at the time the dogs were seized she had been dealing with significant personal issues, causing extreme stress. She has since voluntarily given up a cat because she did not feel able to care for it properly.

“Pets are a responsibility and can’t just be ignored," said Lantz in his sentencing. "If a person has difficulty dealing with pets there are options other than just neglecting them. It might be hard to do sometimes, but it’s better than the alternatives."

Related: P.E.I. Humane Society seizes more dogs from Darlington 'puppy mill'

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