Maple Ridge woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty



A Maple Ridge woman who repeatedly ignored orders to improve care for her dog pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge on Monday.

Denise Westle was ordered to pay a $300 fine and a $45 victim surcharge after admitting to one count of causing an animal to continue to be in distress.

She is not allowed to possess or care for any animal for three years.

The BCSPCA was pleased to hear of Westle’s plea, made the same day a trial on the charge was set to begin, but disappointed with the minimal fine and short ban on owning animals.

“While a three-year ban is better than nothing, I feel that in this particular case a longer term ban was merited,” said Marcie Moriarty.

“Ms. Westle demonstrated, at best, a complete lack of awareness as to the poor condition of her dog and at worst an indifference to Max and his quality of life.”

A member of the public triggered an investigation into Westle in March 2009 by calling the BCSPCA to report a dog tied behind her house.

Animal protection officers found Max, 10-year-old springer spaniel, suffering from a severe untreated ear infection, deviated digits from overgrown nails and filthy, matted fur.

They could smell the ear infection from two metres away.

Westle’s yard was littered with garbage, debris and faeces, according to a press release.

Constables visited the property several times and repeatedly issued orders to improve Max’s welfare and address his care needs, but those orders were ignored.

Max was eventually seized by the SPCA and treated by a veterinarian.

He has since been adopted.

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