Saturday, August 6, 2011

OSPCA And Inspector Sued For $300 000

CORNWALL — An Iroquois farmer has filed a lawsuit against the OSPCA and Inspector Bonnie Bishop for what he alleges has been a 30-year history of harassment and illegal searches by the humane society.

In a statement of claim filed at the Cornwall Superior Court of Justice recently, beef farmer and horse breeder Ralph Hunter is suing the OSPCA for $300,000—claiming punitive and aggravated damages, legal fees and money paid to the humane society after his animals were seized.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Hunter, who keeps beef cattle, horses, ponies and dogs on his Iroquois property, is also requesting the court issue an order preventing Bishop and the OSPCA from entering and searching his property without a warrant.

Under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, OSPCA inspectors and agents are able to enter and inspect a property without a warrant only if they are inspecting buildings and places that are used for exhibit, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale of animals.

To enter and inspect a building or place being used as a dwelling or residence, inspectors are required to get the consent of the homeowner, unless there is reason to believe an animal is in immediate distress—or an animal needing immediate intervention to alleviate suffering or to its preserve life.

Before moving to Iroquois in 2006, Hunter also owned farm properties in Cardinal, Glen Stewart and Charlieville, Ont.

In a three and a half year period between November 2005 and May 2009, Hunter alleges Bishop and the OSPCA entered his property more than 100 times without a warrant and seized dozens of animals.

Following a search in November 2005, the humane society charged Hunter with three counts of neglect under the Criminal Code.

But the court stayed the charges in 2008 after it found that Hunter's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated.

Between March and July of 2006, Hunter alleges Bishop and the OSPCA came on his Cardinal farm property more than 60 times, about two times a week.

He also alleges the OSPCA seized at least 14 farm animals from the property without cause.

In April 2006, a fire ripped through Hunter's Cardinal property, destroying his home.

While firefighters were containing the blaze, Hunter alleges OSPCA inspectors entered and searched the property and questioned him about his animals.

Hunter's allegations into harassment by the OSPCA continue after he moved from Cardinal to Iroquois, including when he alleges two inspectors were found searching his property in the middle of the night with flashlights.

In October 2006, Hunter alleged the OSPCA "threatened" to seize a dog if he didn't have its toe nails cut. Read more.

1 comment:

  1. Without knowing the precise details of this case, like how the animals actually looked, it really is impossible to judge accurately which "side" is actually right. And since the OSPCA doesn't have to show us anything, how do we know? As these smallholding farmers age they have great difficulty continuing the farming life. Is that the case, here? Who knows, OSPCA doesn't HAVE to prove a darn thing to anyone but a judge. Guy sounds a bit back-yard-breeder-ish. But if the animals had food water shelter, the OSPCA had no case anyway. The whole thing sounds strange. The OSPCA has the RIGHT to inspect Hunter's FARM property, but not his personal home. Were they in his personal home 100 times? Why were they harassing this guy? Were neighbours complaining? What IS the condition of the place? Not our right to know, and of course Mr. Hunter cannot have the pictures taken (if any) of his property made public. So we will remain in the dark. As usual.