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article imageNewfoundland woman gets probation for animal cruelty

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 14, 2012 in Crime
Saint John's - The judge accepted the arguments of the woman's lawyer that she has suffered enough and should not be jailed after being convicted of killing two cats.
Carlene Lovell, 29, appeared in a St. John's courtroom yesterday to be sentenced on one count of animal cruelty. Judge Lynn Spracklin gave Lovell a suspended sentence and placed her on probation for one year. Under the terms of her probation, she cannot look after other people's animals. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $200 to Iain McGaw. McGaw owned the two cats, Snuffy and Tabitha, that Lovell had been found guilty of killing.
Lovell was convicted after a trial in January. She had been working with a company, Creative Care, that is no longer in existence. In 2010, Lovell accepted a contract from the company to look after McGaw's cats while he was out of town for a period of over two months. When McGaw returned, his cats were nowhere to be found.
As reported by The Telegram, Lovell had given investigators three different stories about what had happened to Snuffy and Tabitha. She first said nothing out of the ordinary happened and she was not responsible for the disappearance of the felines. In her second version, she said when she opened the door to McGaw's home, the cats ran out and disappeared.
In a third version given to police, Lovell said she didn't bother going to the home for a period of two weeks and when she finally showed up, the cats were dead. She then buried them in a remote area although the bodies were not found where she said their remains were.
At trial, Lovell denied the version that the she neglected the cats, allowing them to die, but that was the one accepted by the trial judge. She was convicted.
After the conviction, Lovell's lawyer, Bob Buckingham, received an anonymous letter saying the writer had the two cats and they were fine. But without anyone coming forward, it was impossible to determine whether or not the letter was a hoax.
At yesterday's sentencing hearing, prosecutor Glynn Faulkner asked for a sentence of between three and six months in jail. Buckingham asked that his client be granted an absolute discharge which would have meant she would not have a criminal record. The basis of this request was that his client had suffered enough.
Judge Spracklin refused the request for a discharge but accepted the argument of Lovell's suffering in placing her on probation rather than giving her a jail term.
Spracklin was quoted by The Telegram as saying, I'm not minimizing the impact on an individual of losing an animal or...the job, failing to fulfill her duties. But [Lovell] has already suffered significant consequences...This would be adequate as a general deterrent.
Lovell lost her job as a veterinary assistant and then enrolled in nursing school. But she was asked to leave the school after she was convicted in January.
Buckingham was quoted by the CBC as saying, destroyed relationships. Lost her job. Lost a second opportunity for an education. Has had to sell her home. Has wiped her out financially. It's a situation all out of proportion to the offence for which she was convicted.
The defense lawyer added that the case received more publicity in Newfoundland and Labrador than many murder cases do.
More about carlene lovell, Animal cruelty charges, veterinary assistant, bob buckingham
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