04/24/2014 04:42 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Exploiting animals on Kijiji nets Calgary woman $7,000 fine

Ashley Onen of Calgary has been fined $7,000 for her role in an online scam. She is also banned from owning animals for 10 years, with the exception of the pets currently in her care.

The Calgary Humane Society says the woman used various aliases to get free animals on Kijiji.

She would later sell them, but officials say she neglected them while in her care and falsified the medical histories of the pets.

An investigation began in 2011 when a dog in poor shape was taken in for treatment. Four other small-breed dogs were seized in various states of neglect after a search warrant was issued.

“This was a unique case in that the offence was motivated by profit," says Brad Nichols, manager of cruelty investigations. 

“This type of exploitivebehaviour is concerning and deserving of a significant penalty. The $7,000 fine is the largest fine this agency has obtained on conviction and reflected the commercial aspect of the offence. The 10-year ban will put an end to her unethical revenue stream."

The humane society says this case highlights why people should never advertise a pet as free to a good home.