Two women in Nova Scotia are facing legal action for allegedly importing and selling sick dogs without proper documentation.
The Nova Scotia SPCA said in a news release Tuesday that in both cases a number of dogs that were being sold and adopted by new owners were so sick they died.
The SPCA learned of both cases through confidential complaints and whistleblowers, said Jo-Anne Landsburg, the organization’s chief provincial inspector.
“We are grateful to those who see something and say something,” Landsburg said in the statement.
Lisa Benoit, 50, of Halifax and Trudy Steiner, 44, of Aylesford each face multiple counts of selling dogs without a health certificate, as required by provincial animal welfare law. Steiner was also charged with providing false or misleading information under the law.
The SPCA said it received complaints last December about sick dogs being transported to Nova Scotia from Texas. It is alleged that Benoit facilitated the cross-border transport of approximately 60 dogs each month which were then sold without the proper papers.
The organization also alleges that many dogs were sick when they arrived, fell ill afterwards or died en route to Canada.
The charges against Steiner stem from a separate complaint received last month regarding dogs allegedly sold with serious and communicable diseases.
An investigation revealed that at least 13 dogs had been adopted with serious health issues, according to the statement. Three dogs were seized as part of the SPCA investigation.
Steiner is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Kentville on July 9, while Benoit is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Halifax on July 22.
Landsburg said in an interview that veterinary certificates obtained in other jurisdictions are not valid in Nova Scotia.
“We support the safe transportation of animals in a humane way,” Landsburg said, adding that animals sold in Nova Scotia must undergo medical examinations upon arrival in the province.
Landsburg said people wanting to buy a pet should ask the seller for a Nova Scotia veterinary health certificate.