News / Halifax

Seizing Nemo: SPCA removes fish from notorious Nova Scotia animal abuser Gail Benoit's possession

Enforcement officers from the NSSPCA seized a fish from a home where the convicted animal abuser is living in Dartmouth.

Gail Benoit at Dartmouth provincial court last year.

Metro file

Gail Benoit at Dartmouth provincial court last year.

No Gail, not even a fish.

The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is making sure Gail Benoit won’t acquire or own any more pets for the next five years.

Enforcement officers from the NSSPCA seized a fish Tuesday from a home where the convicted animal abuser is living in Dartmouth.

Benoit was convicted in January of selling cats without a veterinarian’s certificate of health and Judge Flora Buchan sentenced Benoit to a year of probation and prohibited her from possessing or having control of any more animals for five years.

Judge Buchan did allow Benoit to keep three pet dogs, providing microchips were implanted in the animals and they were examined by a veterinarian within 30 days and every year going forward.

The judge’s order also allows the SPCA to show up unannounced to inspect Benoit’s residence for compliance.

The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals seized this fish from convicted animal abuser Gail Benoit. (TC Media)

TC Media

The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals seized this fish from convicted animal abuser Gail Benoit. (TC Media)

This week someone called the SPCA to say Benoit had a fish at her Dartmouth residence. SPCA enforcement officers dropped in to check Tuesday.

Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief inspector for the NSSPCA, says the society often hears people wondering who will enforce prohibition orders.

“We want people to know that we do enforce these prohibition orders and we do carry out regular inspections,” Landsburg told the Truro Daily News by phone.

Landsburg says the society responds to over 1,600 complaints every year and does rechecks until the enforcement officers are satisfied the situation has been resolved.

During Tuesday’s inspection at Benoit’s residence, the officers did in fact find a large fish.

Landsburg says she believes it is an Oscar fish and that it was not living in a healthy environment.

The officers seized the fish and have it in custody. It is not currently up for adoption.

The SPCA posted an explanation of the seizure on their Facebook page.

“Because the SPCA values all life and treats fish and mammals equally, the fish was seized under the court-ordered prohibition. The SPCA wants the public to know that officers are inspecting and do followups on all prohibitions that are handed down in court.”

Benoit and her partner Dana Bailey were both found guilty in 2002 of animal cruelty involving three dogs in their care and were banned from owning animals for five years.

In 2009 they were again found guilty of animal cruelty involving 10 malnourished and neglected puppies seized from their home in Roxville in Digby County in 2007. Bailey and Benoit were each sentenced to a $1,500 fine.

Benoit was also found guilty of obstructing and assaulting a peace officer during the investigation and was sentenced to 21 days in jail.

In 2014 Benoit was sentenced to 15 months’ probation for the theft of two dogs from a New Brunswick woman. The judge in a Bridgewater court banned Benoit from owning, buying or selling pets for the same 15-month period.

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