Animal Neglect Conviction for Owner of 55 Animals Seized by the Montreal SPCA

On September 1st 2016, the Montreal SPCA seized 54 cats and 1 dog from an apartment in Montreal. The animals were seized due to the numerous observed infractions to the Animal Welfare and Safety Act relating to their unsanitary and unsafe living conditions, as well as their obvious lack of veterinary care.

Last Friday, their owner, Mr. Marcel Couillard, was found guilty of 8 counts in relation to this case. He was sentenced to $12,500 in fines, and to a 15-year prohibition order forbidding him from owning more than four animals.


The Montreal SPCA’s Investigations and Inspections Department

Inspectors are charged with enforcing the provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with crimes against animals, as well as Quebec’s provincial animal welfare legislation, namely the Animal Welfare and Safety Act and the Regulation respecting the safety and welfare of cats and dogs. The territory covered by Montreal SPCA inspectors includes the island of Montreal, Laval, as well as certain areas located in the Montérégie, in Lanaudière, and in the Laurentians.

They spend slightly over half of their time in the field, treating complaints, conducting inspections at premises where animals are kept (pet stores, breeding facilities, kennels, etc.), and collecting evidence as part of their investigations. The rest of their time is spent writing reports and preparing files for court.

What constitutes an infraction?

Pursuant to the laws applied by Montreal SPCA inspectors, the following acts or omissions constitute infractions:

  • Hitting, strangling, stabbing, burning, or poisoning an animal
  • Training an animal to fight
  • Trapping an animal using a method that causes pain
  • Abandoning an animal without ensuring that someone else will properly care for the animal
  • Failing to provide an animal with veterinary care when injured, ill, or suffering
  • Failing to provide an animal with food or water
  • Keeping an animal in a place that is soiled, unsafe, or that does not provide sufficient space or lighting
  • Failing to provide an animal with protection from heat, cold, or weather conditions
  • Failing to provide a dog who lives mainly outdoors with a doghouse that is waterproof, raised off the ground, and in good condition
  • Using a collar that hampers an animal’s breathing, or causes the animal pain or injury
  • Failing to groom an animal and trim his or her claws on a regular basis

If you witness animal abuse, please report it!

1. To the Montreal SPCA’s Investigations and Inspections Department:

Leave us a message at (514) 735-2711, extension 2230, or send us an email at inspection@spcamontreal.com. In case of emergency, call (514) 735-2711, extension 0. All complaints are treated confidentially.

2. For incidents outside of the territory covered by the Montreal SPCA’s investigations and inspections department, to the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec:

Call 1-844-ANIMAUX or send an email to centraledesignalement@mapaq.gouv.qc.ca. All complaints are treated confidentially.

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