Animal abuse

Gail Benoit to be sentenced in Dartmouth court

Notorious animal abuser faces sentence on new charges

Gail Benoit via Facebook   Christy Somos

Gail Benoit is expected to be sentenced today for her newest charges: selling cats without a veterinary health certificate and refusing to give information to an Officer of the Peace.

Benoit pleaded guilty to those charges in November, according to a CBC report. The Digby native has been in and out of courtrooms since 2007 over a litany of charges. She has previously been convicted of animal cruelty and assaulting an SPCA officer according to reports from CBC and the Digby Courier.

Chief Officer of the Nova Scotia SPCA, Joanne Landsburg, says that because of Benoit’s history and previous charges, “we have asked that she receive a lifetime prohibition from owning animals.”

Landsburg says the Crown will put this request forward at the sentencing, but it’s up to the judge to decide what Benoit’s sentence will be.

Vaughn Black, who teaches an Animals and the Law course at Dalhousie University, has told the CBC that jail time for animal cruelty charges can be an appropriate punishment.

“Sentences have been getting heavier as legislatures — both federal and provincial — are recognizing how horrible animal abuse is,” Black told the Signal on Wednesday.

Black is also adviser for Animal Justice Canada, a registered charity that concerns itself with passing new animal rights legislation and the prosecution of animal abusers.

The maximum sentence Benoit can receive for these latest charges is a $50,000 fine and six months in jail.

Benoit could not be reached for comment, as phone calls to her listed residence were answered with “there is no Gail here” and a prompt disconnection.

The Nova Scotia SPCA urges anyone who thinks they may have bought animals from Benoit to phone them at (902) 835-4798 or contact them through their website.