Winlaw man charged with animal cruelty

Slocan Valley resident charged with animal cruelty for the fourth time

  • Feb. 10, 2016 8:00 a.m.

A Slocan Valley man has been charged with animal cruelty for the fourth time, following a BC SPCA seizure of 29 animals froma property near Winlaw last week.

Crown counsel charged Joao (John) Vieira, 55, with three counts of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code days after a team ofBC SPCA constables took Vieira’s animals into custody and presented their evidence to Crown.

Nine sheep, seven goats, four horses, five large-breed dogs, two puppies, one cow and one rooster in various states ofdistress were rescued by the SPCA officers. The carcasses of dead horses, a bull and a goat were also found on the property.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, said Vieira has been the focus of several SPCAinvestigations during recent years and has three previous animal cruelty convictions.

“He has also been charged four times with breaching conditions of his sentencing, the most recent charge for violating a banon owning animals,” she said.

Moriarty said the 29 animals seized on Jan. 28 were being kept in overcrowded and inadequate conditions and wereunderweight and suffering from a range of medical issues, including parasites, abscesses, heart problems, infections,overgrown nails, dental issues and eye infections.

The livestock are now being cared for at foster boarding facilities and the dogs and puppies are in the care of the KelownaSPCA, where they are on a protective hold and will receive on-going veterinary care before going up for adoption. Vieira will bein court on March 8.

SPCA spokeswoman Tricia Leslie said in an email that the only way they can enforce court-ordered bans is to catch offenderswith animals and recommend charges of breaching conditions.

“We can do spot checks but that is only if we can find them,” she said, adding that in Vieira’s case, he moved often, making itdifficult for their constables.

“In addition, the BC SPCA’s resources are limited, as we respond to 10,000 reports of animal cruelty each year, with just 28constables in the province.”

Leslie insisted the organization has done its best to monitor Vieira, which has resulted in him being charged multiple times.

“Unfortunately there’s little to do about keeping animals from getting into repeat offenders’ hands,” she said.

“Because there’s no one registry, for example, from which people purchase animals, he can’t be flagged. He’s flagged in oursystems, but he can source animals from a number of different areas. The BC SPCA hopes that if he is convicted this time thesentence is so significant that it deters him from breaching his ban in future.”

The BC SPCA is funded primarily by public donations. Initial estimates for medical care and special diets needed by Vieira’sunderweight animals come to approximately $20,000. The SPCA said it welcomes monetary donations atspca.bc.ca/medicalemergency and would also appreciate donations of high quality hay for the livestock.

If you can help, contact SPCA Nelson branch manager Rob Andrew at 250-352-7178 or nelson@spca.bc.ca.

 

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