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Greenstone man banned from owning animals after guilty plea

More than 30 dogs seized, three others found dead, from Longlac residence in 2017.
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Dog Rescue 3
Dogs seized from the Longlac residence received care at the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society (tbnewswatch file photograph)

GREENSTONE, Ont. -- A Greenstone man has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of animal cruelty and has received a lifetime ban on owning or caring for animals.

John O'Nabigon Jr. pleaded guilty last week in the Ontario Court of Justice to wilfully causing unnecessary suffering and willfully neglecting to provide suitable and adequate care of 31 dogs, and killing three dogs without willfull and lawful cause.

Provincial police were called last February by snowmobilers who found a large number of dogs tethered in a remote wilderness area near Longlac. Three of the 15 dogs were dead and the remaining 12 were emaciated. The dogs were removed by the OPP, Want a Pett, a Greenstone-based animal welfare organization, the people who found the dogs and the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society, who took in the dogs and provided veterinary attention and care.

Nearly two months later, an officer with the Ontario Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attended the man's residence in Longlac and found 17 more dogs, which were without shelter, food and water. O'Nabigon surrendered the dogs to the humane society and all but one were deemed to be underweight.

The sentence also includes a six-month conditional sentence on each count and one-year probation. O'Nabigon was also ordered to pay more than $27,000 in restitution to the humane society.

“The level of neglect and suffering that many of these animals endured is horrible to imagine. Abandoning an animal to starve to death, or simply failing to provide the basic care of an animal, will not be tolerated,” said Ontario SPCA senior inspector Lynn Michaud in a statement.

“If you are unable to care for your animals, contact your local Ontario SPCA Animal Centre, or Humane Society. With the resources available in today’s society, there is no excuse for allowing an animal to suffer.”

To report animal cruelty, contact the Ontario SPCA’s province-wide animal cruelty hotline at 310-SPCA (7722).