Animal welfare workers in Jamaica told Global News Tuesday that April Dawn Irving, wanted in connection to one of the largest animal seizures in Alberta history, is living somewhere on the island and has been for months.
Irving is charged with one count of cruelty to animals after five dogs were found dead on her property near Milk River, Alta., along with 201 neglected animals that were seized in December 2014.
The warrant was issued in February 2016 after Irving failed to appear for a second time in court on the charge.
“I don’t believe it; I know it for a fact – that’s the same woman,” Dabbie Lightheart said.
Lightheart is a Canadian who runs a spay and neuter clinic in Negril, Jamaica and said Irving has been living on the island and going by the name “Carol.”
“Carol came to a clinic with two very, very skinny skinny dogs,” Lightheart said.
“She said she had found them at the beach park at the fisherman’s village and I didn’t question her at the time.”
The dogs showed no improvement after Lightheart said she continued to follow up with the woman for a few months with food and vitamins.
In October, the woman also signed in at another clinic as “Carol,” and veterinarian Dr. Calvern Thomas helped her with another very skinny dog that died the following day.
Thomas said he too knows for sure that Irving is or was on the island, but hasn’t seen her since she tried to adopt a dog in late November or early December.
“She is doing the same thing that she did over there,” Thomas told Global News.
“I think she intends to do good but I don’t think she has the capability to do so, to do a good job.”
Since learning of Irving’s animal cruelty charges in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Lightheart said everyone on the island is on the lookout.
“Where she is now, we have no idea,” Lightheart said.
“We have put her picture everywhere we can in Jamaica.”
Anyone with information on Irving’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Lethbridge Crown Prosecutor’s office at 403-381-5211 or their local police detachment.