Animal abusers should receive stiffer penalties from B.C. judges, say a couple of dozen people in Victoria who protested outside the provincial courthouse Saturday afternoon.
The protest was prompted by the punishment handed to a Victoria man who pleaded guilty to failing to provide necessities to his pet, after a 10-year-old Shih Tzu was found in August barely alive with maggot-infested abscesses on its skin. The dog later had to be euthanized.
Earlier this month, Douglas Pattison was fined $250 and banned from owning pets for three years.
Under B.C. law, animal-cruelty convictions carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $75,000 and a ban on owning animals.
“Until judges start treating animal abusers as the violent offenders that they are, the rest of society will just keep going along thinking it’s OK,” said Amanda Sather, the organizer of Saturday’s protest.
She and her supporters said the dog’s owners should have received a much more severe punishment, considering the abuse endured by the animal.
Named Tiny by staff at the B.C. SPCA, the Shih Tzu also suffered from extensive dental disease and severe dehydration.
When she was picked up by a Good Samaritan on Prior Street, her paws were encased in matting. Removing the hair revealed that her paws were infected, open and full of maggots.
Sather says it was difficult getting people out for the protest so close to Christmas, but she has other events planned, including one in the new year.
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