SASKATOON – A woman who runs an animal shelter out of her home in Elrose, Sask., has been fined $250 after pleading guilty to putting her animals in distress.
The court also ordered the shelter be regularly inspected for the next two years by animal protection and the RCMP.
A charge of animal neglect was stayed.
In 2011, the Saskatchewan SPCA seized more than 60 cats, seven turtles, a dog and an iguana from the home of Dolores Laplante after receiving complaints about unsanitary conditions.
Laplante, who has a background as an animal health technician, admits the shelter was messy but says her animals were not deprived of food, water or medical attention.
She says her reputation has taken a beating but she hopes people will continue to adopt animals from her even if they don’t like her.
“Because I live alone and my place is for fostering animals, it’s not a pet store and I don’t let people in, I perhaps got complacent,” Laplante said outside the courthouse.
The judge did not ban Laplante from owning animals, calling her an “animal lover” who failed to meet the adequate standard of care at the time of the seizure.
Laplante told the court she was happy that a third party would be involved in the inspections, admitting that her relationship with the SPCA is tense.
“When the SPCA breaks into someone’s home, there’s this natural assumption that they had good cause and therefore you’re an animal abuser and bad person,” she said.
Laplante said she felt “violated” after the seizure and is afraid her animals will be taken if she leaves her home.
“I have developed agoraphobia, and I’m working in on it,” Laplante said, choking back tears. “But for the most part I’m a prisoner in my home.”