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Janet Olson admits she stole dogs, but to prevent animal cruelty

01/02/2015 11:51 EST | Updated 03/04/2015 05:59 EST
Animal activist Janet Olson admitted she broke the law when she took dogs from people's yards, but insists it was for all the right reasons. 

The 61-year-old from Surrey, B.C. claims Canada does not have strong enforcement against animal cruelty, so when she stole the pets, it was to prevent the worse crime of animal abuse.

"Our animal cruelty laws encompass just one paragraph. And even those laws aren't enforced. So my defence is that I am not intentionally breaking the law ... I am intentionally enforcing it," Olson said. 

She was a key figure in A Better Life Dog Rescue organization, which took abused and neglected dogs and helped find them better homes.

She was charged with stealing dozens of dogs and has pleaded guilty to stealing three. 

The Crown and defence agreed Olson acted out of compassion and believed she was acting in the best interests of the dogs.

But the Crown also said her actions must be condemned or it sends the message that some laws are made to be broken and that it's alright to take the law into your own hands. 

Meanwhile the defence argued Olson was forced to seize dogs and place them in different homes, because official animal welfare agencies can't or won't.

"I also had two starving dogs that I pointed out to the SPCA," she said.

"They acknowledged the dogs are being deliberately starved to death. They seized the dogs and two days later, they returned the dogs and they starved to death two weeks later," she added. "The SPCA even admitted — in a letter I have as evidence — that they cannot do their job, because they do not have the finances to do so."

The Crown is asking that for a 12 to 18 month conditional sentence for Olson, while her lawyer says a conditional discharge is more appropriate. 

Her sentence will be handed down sometime in the coming days.

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