Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Alan Elliott gets 10 months house arrest

Now this is a conviction for animal cruelty that I can get behind - 10 months of house arrest and an actual ban on ownership of owning animals for 7 years. Finally an animal abuser in the province of Nova Scotia actually gets punished for abusing animals.

Spa Springs farmer sentenced to 10 months house arrest for cruelty to animals
Banned from owning animals for 7 years

In March 2006, Alan Elliott (69) of Spa Springs was accused of cruelty to animals for failing to properly nourish his cattle. About 130 cattle were seized from his farm, the largest animal seizure ever conducted Nova Scotia SPCA, lasting days and costings nearly $30,000. A number of dead animals were uncovered on the farm, and at least one had to be put down during the execution of the seizure.

Fast forward to February 2, 2009, Elliott was convicted of 2 counts of cruelty to animals. Yesterday, he learned his punishment.

April 6, 2009, at Annapolis Royal provincial court Elliott was sentenced to 10 months house arrest (5 months for each count) plus 3 years probation. In addition, Judge Jean-Louis Batiot banned Elliott from owning animals for a period of seven years, and ordered that the farmer undergo a psychiatric evaluation and counseling.

Judge Batiot called this one of the worst cases of animal cruelty of his career, underlining Elliott's failure to take responsibility for the severe problems in his herd, and his continued efforts to blame others for his plight.

Since before the seizure, Elliott has maintained that a Department of National Defence helicopter contaminated his property leading to a de-classification of his organic herd and a subsequent loss of income which hampered his ability to properly nourish the animals. Authorites from CFB Greenwood maintain that investigation concluded the helicopter never landed on Elliott's land.

The Spectator's Lawrence Powell initially brought Elliott's situation to the public eye in a March 2, 2006 article, and was present to photograph the seizure of Elliott's herd a few weeks later.

from the Chronicle Herald -

Farmer who starved cattle gets 10 months’ house arrest
Judge calls case one of the worst he’s ever seen

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL — Annapolis County cattle farmer Alan Elliott was sentenced Monday to 10 months’ house arrest in what the judge called one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he has ever seen.

Judge Jean-Louis Batiot also slapped a seven-year prohibition against owning animals on Mr. Elliott, 69, who was convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals after more than 130 cattle were seized from his farm near Middleton.

Mr. Elliott was given house arrest for five months on each count, plus a total of three years probation, and ordered to undergo a psychological assessment and counselling.

In his sentencing at Annapolis Royal provincial court, Judge Batiot took into account the fact that Mr. Elliott has no criminal record and had a good pre-sentence report.

But he said the report noted that Mr. Elliott still does not take responsibility for his actions and continues to blame others.

"It seems Mr. Elliott simply did not care for those animals," the judge said, describing his actions as "wilful mismanagement of his cattle."

Crown attorney Dave Acker requested jail time. "He doesn’t have any remorse, and he’s still pointing his fingers at others," he told the court.

He added that Mr. Elliott abused his position of trust, which in this case happened to be to his cattle.

Mr. Elliott defended himself during the nine-day trial last year.

At the trial, two witnesses — a veterinarian and a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty investigator — were brought to tears on the witness stand as they described the condition of the emaciated and dying cows found on his property.

About 130 cows were seized by the SPCA from the Spa Springs farm in March 2006 after reports that Mr. Elliott, a cattle farmer for most of his life, was not feeding the animals, with the exception of a small group of prized heifers that he was caring for.

It was the largest animal seizure in the SPCA’s history in Nova Scotia. It took days to round up the cattle and cost the organization $29,000 to ship and care for them until they could be sold.

Several dead cows were also found on the 240-hectare farm.

Mr. Elliott was charged for not providing adequate, food, water, shelter and care.

He claimed throughout the entire process that he could not sell the cattle because his organic farm had been contaminated by pollutants from a search and rescue helicopter from nearby 14 Wing Greenwood that landed on his property.

Mr. Elliott said he lost his certificate for organic farming and had no income for five years before the SPCA seized the cows, but staff at the base said they did a thorough investigation and determined that a helicopter was never near or on his property.

Mr. Elliott declined to comment when Judge Batiot asked him if he had anything to say before the sentencing.

An SCPA investigator, who was new to the case, also declined comment outside the court

Another Chronicle Herald story -

SPCA 'pleased' with 10-month sentence
Officials say farmer’s punishment for cruelty to animals may deter others

KENTVILLE — Nova Scotia SPCA officials hope that a 10-month sentence handed to an Annapolis County farmer signals harsher penalties for people convicted of cruelty to animals.

"We’re very pleased with the sentence because there was a punitive measure, as well as a deterrent in this case," provincial SPCA spokesman Sean Kelly said Tuesday.

"It’s quite obvious that the judge took it seriously and the Crown took it very seriously as well," he said in an interview.

"Any time people take animal welfare issues seriously . . . the SPCA is always happy," he added.

"Obviously this man did damage to the animals and was cruel and inhumane, and there needs to be a measure of punishment," said Mr. Kelly.

He added that he hopes the sentence sends a message to other farmers, as well as pet owners around the province.

He was referring to a 10-month house arrest slapped on Spa Springs farmer Alan Elliott in provincial court in Annapolis Royal on Monday.

Judge Jean-Louis Batiot also ordered a seven-year prohibition on owning animals and ordered Mr. Elliott to undergo a psychological assessment and counselling.

Mr. Elliot was convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals under the Criminal Code.

A third charge under provincial animal welfare legislation was dropped.

In March 2006, SPCA volunteers seized more than 130 cattle from Mr. Elliott’s sprawling farm near Middleton. The cows were emaciated and some had died on the farm. It was one of the SPCA’s largest animal seizures ever in the province.

Mr. Elliott, who defended himself, argued that he could not afford to feed the cattle because he lost his organic farming licence back in 2000. He claimed that a search and rescue helicopter from Greenwood contaminated the farm when it landed on his property.

But Department of National Defence officials, who did an investigation of Mr. Elliott’s complaint, ruled that a helicopter was never near his farm or landed on his property.

Both Judge Batiot and Crown Attorney Dave Acker said it was the worst case of animal cruelty they had ever seen.

Mr. Kelly said the case was "extreme," and that the sentence fit the crime.

"We’re looking eventually to see stricter fines and penalties so that people will absolutely not treat their animals in this way in any way, shape or form.

"However, within the current limits of the law, we’re very happy with the outcome of this case," he said, especially following the sentence recently of a woman who drowned her cat and was fined only $5.

"We’ve had cases in the past that were quire disappointing," Mr. Kelly said. "So it’s really refreshing to see the Justice Department, the Crown attorney and the judge all taking animal welfare issues seriously.

"In my view that’s what the Nova Scotia people want."

’Any time people take animal welfare issues seriously . . . the SPCA is always happy.’

Sean KellySPCA spokesman

1 comment:

  1. we can definately get behind this one too!