The owner of a Quebec fur farm has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty and neglect in what's being called the first case of its kind in Canada.
The charges against Jean-Luc Rodier follow an animal cruelty complaint made to the Montreal SPCA earlier this year, and relate to as many as 10,000 mink, 90 foxes and two dogs, said a Monday news release.
Staff with the association first visited Visons JNJ Inc., the Montérégie-area farm, in May and found foxes in such poor condition they had to be put down.
Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy with the Montreal SPCA, also described finding as many as eight mink crammed in a single cage to the Montreal Gazette.
"Even with a mask, the smell of ammonia from the urine was so strong I had to leave after a few minutes," she told the newspaper. "Many of the animals had eye infections, also due to the fumes.”
Subsequent inspections by the Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks (MFFP) found as many as 80 red foxes that were dehydrated, malnourished and bleeding internally. Ten thousand mink were also discovered with various health issues.
Here are some images of an Aug. 4 visit to Visons JNJ Inc.:
While the organization is "pleased" that charges have been laid, Devine said in a statement that "the case points to a much bigger problem."
She said that more than "2.5 million animals are raised on fur farms" in Canada every year, forced into wire cages "that deprive them of the ability to satisfy their most basic behavioural needs."
Rodier had previously been found guilty of 32 counts of negligence relating to dogs in 1996, CBC News reported.
He could now face a $10,000 fine for each of his new counts, an 18-month prison sentence and a lifetime ban on owning animals.