Submitted by Steve on 12:02, 16th Sep, 2016 | 0

Yesterday GSPCA Welfare Manager Lorna Prince attended Court to witness the outcome of a case of neglect to ferrets here in Guernsey and reports -

"Mr Gontier was investigated by Welfare staff from the GSPCA after an anonymous complaint was made regarding ferrets at his property. The bodies of 6 dead ferrets were found at the scene and an investigation by the Police and the States Veterinary Officer lead to Mr Gontier's arrest under the new Animal Welfare Ordinance 2012. Mr Gontier had failed to seek veterinary advice for his ferrets that had all become ill and subsequently died.      

The Guilty plea and sentencing of Mr Gontier yesterday morning was at a level that the Court felt was appropriate. Mr Gontier received 80 hours Community Service and was banned from keeping any animal for 3 years. Given the circumstances of the case, which involved the death of 6 ferrets, we would seriously question whether he should be allowed to care for animals in the future.  

It was a very upsetting case and does highlight the need to remind members of the public that that they have a Duty of Care to those animals. It is important that they react quickly to any obvious signs of ill health or changes in behaviour that could be indicative of an underlying problem. Regardless of any anecdotal advice from friends and family they should seek professional help as soon as they can to prevent any unnecessary pain and suffering.

Veterinary bills can be very expensive so we strongly urge people to consider this before taking on the responsibility of animals regardless of whether it is a companion, working or livestock animal. It is our responsibility to provide them with everything they need to ensure they have a happy, healthy and enriched life and we should not turn our back on them or bury our heads in the sand if their quality of life is compromised, as Mr Gontire had done in this case.

After decades of waiting it is good to see that the Animal Welfare Ordinance 2012 works and we hope today's judgement acts as a deterrent and a reminder to everyone that Animal Welfare in Guernsey is taken seriously. Those of us charged with overseeing and investigating cases of Animal Welfare have a very difficult job and it is reassuring to know we are now supported by Legislation."

Since the Animal Welfare Ordinance 2012 came into effect it thankfully hasn't had to be used in many circumstances, but this time last year saw the largest multiple dog case when it was used on 7 welfare offences for the Slovakian puppies that were being illegally transported to the UK in squalid conditions and with puppies to young and unfit for travel which were on fraudulent passports.

The GSPCA takes all acts of cruelty or neglect extremely seriously and respond to all reports and if anyone has a cause for concern please call 01481 257261.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "GSPCA Welfare Manager Lorna Prince and Welfare and Education Officer Sarah Creasey do an amazing and very tough job investigating cruelty and neglect from reports that are called through to us here at the GSPCA."

"Thankfully many of the calls are solved with a bit of advice or chat and we are lucky to have a very caring community in Guernsey but sadly there are like this ferret case some extreme and very sad cruelty offences that do and can happen."

"For 143 years the GSPCA have been caring for the animals of Guernsey and investigating cases of neglect and thankfully with the new Animal Welfare Ordinance 2012 the legislation is much improved to years gone by."

"Ferrets have had a hard press in recent weeks as there are those living in the wild that have escaped or possibly been set free but any animal deserves the best of care by an owner and there are no excuses for the cruelty these animals were caused."

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