A sad story, but with a happy ending. If they think that's not a good enough punishment ... imagine if he had only gotten a $5 fine. At least the animal in this case is still alive ... unlike the kittens.
People who do this are disgusting.
'He's a little guy with a strong spirit'
Mar 04, 2009 04:30 AM
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Andrew Chung QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF
MONTREAL – He's the dog that shouldn't have survived.
But Michou, the charcoal and white miniature poodle with the dark, trusting eyes, locked inside a vehicle for 19 days in the freezing January cold without food or water, not only survived, but is thriving with new owners, an animal control officer involved in the case says.
Michou's weight dropped from about 20 pounds to nine pounds as he sat starving and dehydrated in the freezing cold and was near death inside the EuroVan of his Quebec owner, who had flown off from the Burlington, Vt., international airport over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
After being rescued, Michou was somehow able to pull through, and for that reason Vermonters have called him the "miracle dog."
The 12-year-old poodle is gaining weight, getting friskier by the day, and has been adopted by the foster couple who took him in after his ordeal, said Susan Powers, animal control officer for Williston, Vt., a suburb of Burlington, who helped find Michou the foster family.
"It was a miracle he was still alive," Powers said. "We don't quite understand how in the world he was still living. The two vets who cared for him don't understand either, how a dog could live for that long. We know many dogs who have died in far less time than that. He's a little guy with a good, strong spirit."
Michou's ordeal continues to make waves in Burlington. An editorial broadcast by the local NBC affiliate slammed both the owner, 50-year-old Pascal Bellon of Frelighsburg, Que., and the institutions that gave Bellon a $100 ticket for what happened.
"That so-called punishment is a crime, too," station general manager Gary Sands said on-air. "Vermont law says Bellon could have been fined $7,500 and sent to prison. He should have been."
That prompted viewer comments echoing their displeasure, read on the air on Sunday.
Police at the time said that when they met Bellon upon his return, he told them he didn't realize the dog was in the van. Without evidence he intended to cause harm, the police said, they couldn't lay criminal charges.
Investigators concluded the abandonment was accidental. The public flooded the Humane Society of Chittenden County and the police with demands for information and offers to adopt the animal.
"There is a prevailing frustration with the situation and a certain disbelief that this could have happened without an individual's knowledge," said B.J. Rogers, the Humane Society's executive director. "Burlington in particular is a very dog friendly, highly dog populated area. So it engendered a lot of compassion for the dog and frustration with both the owner and the system that ultimately was unable to sort of hold him accountable for at least what people perceived to be the events."
In Frelighsburg, a picturesque border town in the eastern townships, the attitude is different. Numerous interviews revealed a community steadfastly behind Bellon, who could not be reached for an interview. They believe the abandonment was inadvertent and that Bellon should get his dog back.
"This is an unfortunate incident and to see what a fuss has been made when there are so many situations in this world deserving of time and energy, it's a shame to put so much attention on an unfortunate incident," said resident Holly Gosselin.
Michou could hardly move when he was found. His fur was caked with excrement and his eyes crusted over from an infection.
Powers wouldn't release the name of the new owners, but they are retired and have a lot of time to look after Michou, she said. He is taking supplements along with his food to help him get better.
"He's very affectionate," Powers said. "He wants to be on your lap."
Here is the kittens story
Woman fined $5 for drowning kittens By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Valley BureauTue. Mar 3 - 5:45 PM
The provincial SPCA says a $5 fine handed to a Windsor woman for drowning two newborn kittens in a bucket of water is "a travesty of justice."
The woman, in her 50s, pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals after drowning the pair of two-day-old stray kittens in Windsor last year.
Sean Kelly, chairman of the investigation committee for the SPCA, said a staff member told him that the prosecutor seemed nonchalant about the case in Windsor provincial court because the woman had been unable to get help from the SPCA in taking the kittens’ stray mother, and the prosecutor had also been trying to get the organization to deal with a stray on his property.
"The SPCA is not an animal control group, unless we have a contract with a municipality," Mr. Kelly said. "We do not take in stray cats."
He said it cost the SPCA more than $5 in gas just to drive to the Windsor courthouse for Monday’s proceedings.
He said prosecutor Bill Fergusson agreed with a defence request for the fine.
Mr. Kelly said the normal range for cruelty charges is $500 to $1,000 and long-term prohibition from owning animals.
"If they’re unable to pay, we look for lengthy prohibition (from owning animals) and probation," he said.
He said he’s worried the case could set a precedent for future sentences, and the SPCA is lodging a formal complaint with the Public Prosecution Service.
But Mr. Fergusson said he had two options: take the fine and get a conviction, or go to trial and likely lose.
He said in talking with the defence lawyer, it seemed likely that the arguments she would make at trial would lead to an acquittal, so he accepted the woman’s guilty plea in exchange for a minimal fine.
She was charged under Section 11 (2) of the Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, which states that "no owner of an animal or person in charge of an animal shall cause or permit the animal to be or to continue to be in distress."
"I was more concerned with the conviction than a large fine," Mr. Fergusson said, adding that the woman is on welfare and wouldn’t have been able to pay anyway.
He asked for a small fine and the defence lawyer came up with the $5 figure.
Mr. Fergusson said a prohibition order would be unnecessary because the woman doesn’t want to own animals and was only feeding the kitten’s mother as a stray. He said the woman was unable to look after the kittens and had said that they were not doing well before she drowned them in a bucket of water.
He said probation is not a penalty available under the animal cruelty act.
The judge told the woman that pleading guilty would show others that it is not acceptable to drown kittens, Mr. Fergusson said.
He said while he does have an issue with the stray cat problem in Windsor and the fact the SPCA doesn’t have mechanisms in place to deal with that, securing the conviction, not a vendetta against the organization, was the primary reason he did not argue the amount of the fine.
The conviction means the woman will have a prior case on her record should she ever be facing a similar charge again, which can lead to an increased penalty.
Animal cruelty is animal cruelty. Send them to jail, fine them the maximum amount, and prohibit animal ownership for life.