Owner of Montreal Pet Store Charged with Animal Cruelty

bird_after3Montreal, November 17th, 2015 – Giovanni Iacovella, owner of the pet store and breeding facility Centre d’animaux Ani-Mart inc., has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect under the Criminal Code. The charges stem from a seizure of over 540 exotic birds from this location conducted by the Montreal SPCA in July.

Iacovella could face up to $10,000 in fines and 18 months imprisonment for causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to his animals, and up to $5,000 in fines and 6 months imprisonment for failing to provide them with adequate care. Iacovella will be appearing in court in early 2016 to face both charges.

Since their seizure in July, thebird_after4 birds have been under the care of the Montreal SPCA, where they have been receiving the attention and veterinary care that they require. Montreal SPCA staff, volunteers, and foster families have been working day and night to ensure for the animals’ welfare. The Montreal SPCA has already spent over $50,000 on care for these birds, due, in large part, to the specialized veterinary care many of them require.

“Because exotic animals currently fall outside the ambit of Quebec’s provincial animal welfare legislation, in cases such as this one, involving exotic birds, we are forced to proceed under the Criminal Code. Unfortunately, however, unlike the provincial law, the Criminal Code does not provide any means to ensure that the costs of caring for seized animals is borne by their owner, nor does it provide any means to determine what will happen to the birds pre-trial” said Me Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “This means that unless the accused decides, of his own volition, to surrender the birds to us pre-trial, or unless he pleads guilty, the Montreal SPCA will have to house the animals and pay for the costs of their care for the next  one to two years, which represents a tremendous burden on our organisation, which does not receive any government subsidies for this work. This is one of the many reasons why we believe that all animals kept in captivity, including exotic animals, must be covered by our provincial animal welfare legislation”.

Bill 54An Act to Improve the Legal Situation of Animals, which was introduced  on June 5th to the National Assembly by Pierre Paradis, Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, is currently being deliberated in parliamentary commission. Despite efforts by the Montreal SPCA and other animal protection organisations, the current version of the bill still excludes certain animals, such as exotic animals and wildlife in captivity. To read more about the Montreal SPCA’s recommended amendments to Bill 54, please click here. To write bird_after2to Minister Paradis and ask that exotic animals and wildlife in captivity be given the same protection as other animals, please click here.

Please note that the animals mentioned in the present press release are not available for adoption. As they are under seizure, they still belong to their original owner. To make a donation to help the Montreal SPCA cover the cost of their care, please click here.

If you witness any incident of cruelty or animal neglect, please report it to the Montreal SPCA’s inspections department by leaving a message at: (514) 735-2711 ext. 2230, or sending an email to inspection@spca.com. In case of emergency, please call (514) 735-2711, extension 0.

Animal abuse or neglect can also be reported to the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation by calling 1-844-ANIMAUX or by sending an email to centraledesignalement@mapaq.gouv.qc.ca.



Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first humane society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For many years, the Montreal SPCA has been working hard with municipal, provincial and federal governments to improve animal protection laws. In 2014, our inspection service investigated 1,217 new complaints and conducted the inspection of 3,012 animals, all species combined. A total of 101 animals were seized as a result of these investigations and several criminal and penal charges were laid.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

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