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Two women face charges of selling dogs without Nova Scotia vet health certificates in separate cases

Two women are facing charges in two separate cases of selling animals without the proper medical inspections or certificates.

In both instances, the women imported dogs from outside the province, according to the Nova Scotia SPCA.

The charges were laid after inspectors followed up on confidential complaints from people who had purchased animals.

Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector at the Nova Scotia SPCA, said there were various breeds involved.

One of the cases involves Lisa Benoit of Halifax. Landsburg said she was not aware if the 50-year-old Halifax woman is related in any way to Gail Benoit, a notorious Nova Scotia woman previously convicted of selling sick dogs.

The SPCA received complaints in December 2021 alleging that Lisa Benoit imported sick animals from Texas and sold them without medical inspections or certificates.

A Nova Scotia SPCA enforcement team investigation found that Benoit facilitated the transportation and sale of approximately 60 dogs per month to Nova Scotia.

“There was one animal during a transport who had passed away,” Landsburg said. “We did have reports of other animals that had serious illness after the fact and families were left having to pay for veterinary bills once they got back, so that was certainly a problem. And that’s part of the reason why the Nova Scotia Veterinary health certificates are so important to obtain when you’re buying a pet in Nova Scotia.”

Benoit is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on July 22 to answer to 12 charges of selling dogs without a certificate of health, contrary to section 26(6) of the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia, laid after a search warrant was executed in May.

Benoit has started a GoFundMe campaign for her defense in which she says she is a dog rescuer who does not consider herself a seller.

In the second case, Gertruda (Trudy) Steiner of Aylesford is facing 10 charges under section 26(6) and another two charges of providing false or misleading information.

Steiner is scheduled to appear in Kentville provincial court on July 9.

In that case, the SPCA received a complaint in May that animals were being sold with severe and communicable diseases without proper medical certificates. During the investigation, the officers found at least 13 dogs had been adopted with severe health issues and did not have a Nova Scotia Veterinary Certificate of Health. Several of the dogs died.

A search warrant was executed on May 24, and three dogs were seized, including one that was pregnant.

“Any case where somebody adopts or buys a dog from anyone and their pet passes away can be very concerning because that family has put a lot of effort and money into that dog, so it would be very traumatic for them having the dog pass away despite the fact that they would be responsible for extensive medical bills,” Landsburg said.

The dogs in the Steiner case were imported from elsewhere in Canada, she said.

Landsburg said it is important to note that the Nova Scotia SPCA does support the safe transport of animals in a humane manner.

“The unfortunate part is not all families are able to receive a healthy pet and there have been several reports, like I said, of people purchasing dogs who have fallen seriously ill or died. So, again, it’s important that when they are buying a pet that you ask the seller to provide them with a Nova Scotia Veterinary Certificate of Health, because certainly we believe that all pets deserve to have the ability to find a home that may not have had that opportunity elsewhere, so in doing so, the Nova Scotia Veterinary Certificate of Health will help those families make that decision and decide what’s best for their family and hopefully they’ll have a safe, healthy pet to add to their family.”

The SPCA encourages potential adopters to visit www.yournextpet.ca for helpful information about picking up a new pet.

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