timberland womens snow boots chief veterinarian breaks down on stand in horrific animal cruelty case
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Seeing the shrivelled remains of a dog that had been starved for months and left stuffed in a suitcase was too difficult even for the province chief veterinary officer to talk about.
She took a long pause to wipe her eyes and regain her composure before continuing, it not something that very pleasant to think about. became emotional several times while testifying earlier this week at the trial of John Michael Corcoran at provincial court in St. John 33 year old capital city man has pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty in a case that Rogers described as the worst case of emaciation she seen in her 20 years of practice.
don know if I ever seen a dog this emaciated before, to be honest, she said, pausing again as she struggled to speak. hard to explain, sorry. dog remains were found on Aug. 15, 2015.
That day, employees from the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation contacted police after finding a suitcase that was seeping liquid in the basement of a unit on Buckmaster Circle. It was underneath a mound of clothing. Corcoran had just moved out of the unit and the workers were there to clean it and prepare it for the next tenant.
According to the facts of the case presented in court, when the workers entered the unit, they immediately noticed a strong, unpleasant smell, which they discovered was coming from the suitcase. They tried to open it, but with the liquid leaking through, the zipper was stuck. They called the police. Once officers arrived, they cut the suitcase open and found a garbage bag. Inside were the dog remains, which were taken to Rogers later that day for examination and to determine the cause of death.
She explained in court that the dog was in such an emaciated state, there was virtually no muscle and no bone marrow left.
dog marrow was actually empty. It was completely hollow, said Rogers, who added bones from its spine were protruding from its back. was no fat to analyze. Everything about this dog was shrunken dog had basically wasted away. the dog had access to water or else it would have died of dehydration but she estimated the dog had been without food for months, if not years. She estimated the dog remains had been inside the suitcase for up to three months. There had been some decomposition, she said, but most of the damage was done before it died.
in advanced states of decomposition and I seen many decomposed animals none of them end up looking like that, she said.
Photos of the dog remains entered into evidence are too disturbing to publish.
Rogers said the dog claws were also extremely long, indicating it had been confined to a small space and had not walked in a long time.
When Crown prosecutor Robin Singleton asked Rogers about the standard of care required by dog owners, Rogers said that, unlike livestock, dogs are completely at people mercy.
a saying, it really more geared towards horses, but it says,
eye of the master makes the horse fat. It obviously shows you that it up to you, as the owner, to be able to look at your animal and give it what it needs in order to provide and make sure it looks the way it looks, she said.
not difficult to feed a dog, you know. Buy some dog food. You just need to provide it with something once a day to eat.
not that difficult, she repeated, her voice fading.
Corcoran also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges mischief and breaching a court order by not residing in the place he said he would.
In making her recommendations on sentencing, Singleton said Corcoran deserves jail time for the heartless suffering he caused his dog.
circumstances of the demise of the dog are horrific.
responsibility of owning a pet is significant. Mr. Corcoran did not have to take on that responsibility and, certainly, he was in a position of trust to that dog. said all Corcoran had to do was give the dog food and water. Instead, he let it starve to death.
is just no excuse for it. It just very, very senseless, she said, adding that even the manner in which the dog was discovered reveals a lack of respect for the animal.
Corcoran didn have to take on the responsibility of a dog, and at any point he could given up that responsibility and there would be no need for us to be here today.
actually quite hard (to fathom) how somebody could just stand by and let an animal waste away like this. noted that this was not the first time Corcoran has been convicted of animal cruelty. The first conviction was in Grand Bank in 2012, when he was given a suspended sentence with a year probation. He also has numerous convictions for breaching court orders, as well as ones for assault with a weapon and assault.
Singleton recommended Corcoran be given a blended sentence eight months behind bars, with 18 months probation for the animal cruelty charge, and conditional sentences totalling 45 days for other unrelated charges, including possessing stolen property from the construction company he had worked for and breaching court orders for not residing where he said he would.
Singleton said Corcoran should also undergo counselling and be banned from ever owning a pet again.
When Corcoran got the opportunity to speak, he said, very sorry for what happened at my house. went on to say that he tried to get legal counselling, but that it didn work out. He said the case has had a big impact on his life.
lost everything over all the circumstances in the case, he said. basically, I seek the help of family to guide me to where I am today, to get past it, and try to fix myself and better myself for, not just my children, but for everybody else in our community. asked the judge to consider a conditional sentence for him to allow him to care for his family.