Two women face charges of selling dogs without Nova Scotia veterinary health certificates in separate cases

Two women face charges in two separate cases for selling animals without the proper medical inspections or certificates.

In both cases, the women imported dogs from outside the province, according to the Nova Scotia SPCA.

The charges were brought after inspectors followed up on confidential complaints from people who had purchased animals.

Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector at the Nova Scotia SPCA, said there were different breeds involved.

One of the cases involves Lisa Benoit from Halifax. Landsburg said she did not know if the 50-year-old Halifax woman was related in any way to Gail Benoit, a notorious Nova Scotia woman previously convicted of selling sick dogs.

The SPCA received complaints in December 2021 alleging Lisa Benoit imported sick animals from Texas and sold them without a medical inspection or certificate.

An investigation by the Nova Scotia SPCA law enforcement team found that Benoit facilitated the transportation and sale of approximately 60 dogs per month to Nova Scotia.

“There was an animal during a transport that had died,” Landsburg said. “We had reports of other animals getting serious illness afterwards and the families having to pay the vet bills once they got back, so that was definitely an issue. And that’s part of the reason why Nova Scotia veterinary health certificates are so important to obtain when buying a pet in Nova Scotia.

Benoit is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Halifax on July 22 to answer 12 charges of selling dogs without health certificates, contrary to section 26(6) of Nova Scotia’s Animal Protection Act, brought after the execution of a search warrant in May.

Benoit launched a GoFundMe campaign in her defense in which she says she is a dog rescuer who does not consider herself a salesperson.

In the second case, Gertruda (Trudy) Steiner of Aylesford faces 10 counts under section 26(6) and two other counts of providing false or misleading information.

Steiner is scheduled to appear in Kentville Provincial Court on July 9.

In this case, the SPCA received a complaint in May that animals were being sold with serious, communicable diseases without proper medical certificates. During the investigation, officers discovered that at least 13 dogs had been adopted with serious health issues and did not have Nova Scotia veterinary health certificates. Several of the dogs died.

A search warrant was executed on May 24 and three dogs were seized, including a pregnant one.

“Any case where someone adopts or buys a dog from someone and their animal dies can be very concerning because that family has invested a lot of effort and money in that dog, so it would be very traumatic for them that the dog dies despite the fact that they would be responsible for large medical bills,” Landsburg said.

The dogs in the Steiner case were imported from elsewhere in Canada, she said.

Landsburg said it’s important to note that the Nova Scotia SPCA supports the safe transportation of animals in a humane way.

“The unfortunate thing is that not every family is able to get a healthy pet and there have been several reports, as I said, of people buying dogs that have fallen seriously ill or have died so again it is important that when they are buying a pet you ask the seller to provide them with a Nova Scotia Veterinary Health Certificate as we certainly believe that all pets deserve the opportunity to find a home that may not have had that opportunity elsewhere, so in doing so, Nova Scotia Veterinary Health Certificate will help those families make that decision and decide what is best for their family and hopefully they will have a safe and healthy pet to add to their family.

The SPCA encourages potential adopters to visit www.yournextpet.ca for helpful information on caring for a new pet.

About Patrick K. Moon

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