Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5427
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Monday, Apr 7, 2003


Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Rose Misener
» Ralph Misener

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Ralph and Rose Misener, previously of Vaughan, Ontario, were found guilty August 18, 2005 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket on four charges of failing to provide suitable and adequate care and causing unnecessary suffering to dogs. The charges followed the rescue of 42 dogs from their custody on April 7, 2003. Sadly, the Miseners have been involved in numerous Ontario SPCA investigations and animal cruelty convictions since 1964, involving close to 800 dogs either surrendered or removed.

Acting on a tip that the Miseners' barn had collapsed and dogs could be heard inside barking, howling and crying, investigators with the Ontario SPCA attended the property in Vaughan the evening of April 6, 2003. Investigators found 70 small dogs, including American Eskimos and cockapoos, many housed inside a partially collapsed barn in extremely frigid temperatures. Living conditions inside the building included holes and gaps in the walls, thin bedding, empty and frozen water bowls, scarce and disintegrated food, poorly lit areas, and fecal matter and frozen urine covering pen floors. As well, many dogs had visible medical problems.

The following day the Ontario SPCA returned with a search warrant and a veterinarian who determined that the dogs required immediate removal to relieve their distress. A review of the property by investigators also determined that only 42 dogs remained of the 70 originally found, and that the Miseners had failed to comply with an Ontario SPCA Order issued the previous evening to remove the dogs from the barn to a warmer environment and provide adequate food, water and bedding.

The animals were immediately seized and transported to the Ontario SPCA York Region Branch where they received veterinary assessment and treatment for various ailments including emaciation, ear infections, periodontal disease, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, frostbite, overgrown nails and matted and feces encrusted fur. All dogs have since been adopted.

A similar incident in August 2001, involving the highly publicized rescue of 231 dogs from two puppy mills operated by Ralph and his wife Rose, initiated a great deal of outrage across Ontario and lead to the successful Ontario SPCA "Honey Needs You" petition campaign. Results included improvements to provincial legislation, including standards of care for breeders of dogs and cats for sale and stiffer penalties. While the trial for the August 2001 rescue was in progress (the Miseners were subsequently found guilty on five charges of failing to provide suitable and adequate care and causing unnecessary suffering) the Ontario SPCA rescued the 42 dogs involved in last Thursday's conviction. Provincial charges are still outstanding in this case.

This latest removal highlights the need for amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, as is proposed in Bill C-50 currently before the Senate. This Bill would remove the two years' maximum ban on owning animals and allow for a lifetime ban, raise the penalty for intentional cruelty to a maximum of five years' imprisonment (up from the current six-month penalty), and give judges the authority to raise the fine for summary convictions to $10,000 (from the current maximum fine of $2,000). The cap on fines for indictable offences would be removed entirely and cruelty offences would no longer be classified as property offences. Additionally, the legislation would allow judges to order anyone found guilty of animal cruelty to pay restitution to the animal welfare organization that cared for the animal.

"The current Criminal Code two year maximum ban on owning animals is grossly inadequate and allows offenders to continue to neglect animals and to repeat this cruelty, time and again," says Mike Draper, Ontario SPCA Chief Inspector. "It is frustrating that Bill C-50 - which would allow judges to impose a lifetime ban from owning animals - has not passed. The repeat offences by the Miseners, and the large number of animals involved, is a clear signal that unless we have tougher penalties the fight against animal abuse in this province is a losing battle."

The Miseners will return to the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket to be sentenced on October 17, 2005.


Case Updates

A convicted animal abuser has been handed a six-month jail term and his wife sentenced to a year of house arrest for running a puppy mill described as a concentration camp for dogs. Ralph and Rose Misener were found guilty in August of causing unnecessary suffering after a raid on Vaughan farm in 2003. Forty-two dogs and puppies were found in conditions so sickening that inspectors became nauseated.
Source: Ottawa Sun - Oct 25, 2005
Update posted on Oct 25, 2005 - 1:23PM 
A couple convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to dozens of dogs in their puppy-breeding operation have been ordered to attend a Newmarket, Ont., court for sentencing next week or face immediate arrest.

Ralph and Rose Misener of Beaverton, Ont., failed to show for their scheduled sentencing hearing yesterday after leaving a phone message with court officials saying neither could attend their hearing because Rose had been hospitalized in Toronto.

The Miseners were convicted Aug. 18 on four Criminal Code charges of failing to provide suitable and adequate care and causing unnecessary suffering to 42 dogs.
Source: Edmonton Sun - Oct 18, 2005
Update posted on Oct 20, 2005 - 8:58AM 

References

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