Valley dog breeder given conditional sentence

A former dog breeder from Barriere has been handed an 18-month conditional sentence in Kamloops provincial court after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

On April 6, SPCA officers executed a search warrant at the residence of Sylvia Judd, 64, after receiving a tip that the one-time dog breeder was allowing her pets to live in squalid conditions.

Upon inspection, officers found the residence to be in a state of disrepair, with animals feces, alcohol bottles, pet food and mouse droppings scattered in both the upstairs and downstairs of the house.

The report noted “there was smell of feces, urine and garbage that was overwhelming.”

Judd’s pets, consisting of 24 dogs, six cats and two cockatiels, were suffering from a series of ailments, including severe matting of hair, rotten teeth, respiratory problems and overgrown nails.

Officers noted the animals’ water dishes were filled with black liquid.

The pets were seized and treated. One of the dogs had to be put down.

On Jan. 4, Crown prosecutor Alex Janse told the court Judd had been suffering from severe depression at the time of the incident, an affliction triggered by the recent split with her husband and fuelled by alcohol and medication.

Judd was alleged to have been consuming up to 24 ounces of hard liquor a day at the time of the incident.

“She appeared to be in a downward spiral,” Janse said.

“[But] there is no question that she seems to care for the animals deep down.”

Kevin Church, Judd’s lawyer, highlighted his client’s long history of dog breeding as proof of her love for animals.

“They weren’t bred and raised for sale and profit,” he said, producing numerous pictures of Judd with her show dogs.

“You can see she had been able to maintain a large number of dogs [at one point].

“She was doing what she could to get by this crisis situation, but this crisis situation wasn’t passing quickly enough for these animals to get the care they needed.”

Taking into consideration her marital problems and otherwise unblemished record with animal care, Judge Hermann Rohrmoser accepted the Crown’s submission, made jointly with the defence, requiring Judd, a retiree, to regularly report to a probation officer, seek counselling and repay the SPCA a restitution order totalling $11,824.77.

As part of the sentence, Judd must also abide by a lifetime prohibition that bars her from owning more than one pet at time.

She must also abstain from alcohol for the duration of her sentence.

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