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Woman guilty of cruelty for castrating pet dog

By Ian Elliot

Friday, November 08, 2002 - 7:00:00 AM

Local News - A woman who castrated a dog using a rubber band has been found guilty of wilfully causing unneccesary pain and suffering to an animal.
Geraldine Teeple, 45, of Arden, was fined $300 yesterday by Mr. Justice Paul Megginson in the Ontario Court of Justice.
He called the use of castration rings to block the flow of blood to the testes, causing them to rot and drop off, “abominable.”
The device is commonly used for use in castrating or dehorning livestock such as bulls or goats. It is sold for that purpose.
Teeple never denied castrating the small dog called Oliver at her hobby farm but maintained the dog showed no signs of suffering and that she did not know it was an improper procedure to perform.
“She was wilfully blind and reckless, therefore there’s a finding of guilty,” concluded Mr. Justice Megginson as Teeple wept at her lawyer’s side.
The judge said Teeple loved animals and he did not prohibit her from keeping them. He said, however, that she made no attempt to educate herself about the use of the Elastrator.
She used the device to tightly wrap elastic bands around the scrotums of two small dogs, first Tonka, then Oliver, the latter of which led to charges when neighbours reported it to the humane society.
Court heard she did not ask about the function of the device when she bought it and four rings at a local farm supply store. It did not come with instructions.
She did not ask other farmers or a veterinarian about whether it caused pain and did not search for information on the Internet, although the Crown noted Teeple’s daughter had posted a defence of her and a plea for assistance on the Web several months ago.
Teeple based her opinion that banding, as the practice is known, is a safe and painless way of castrating a dog largely on the opinion of her brother-in-law, a cab driver, court was told.
“This case is not about whether the procedure is OK, it clearly isn’t and should be banned,” Mr. Justice Megginson said in his verdict, adding it would be up to Parliament to specifically ban its use on domestic animals.
Outside the courtroom, Teeple said she was just trying to help animals and said she was being victimized by the Humane Society that laid the charges and neighbours who gave statements to the prosecution.
“I’d like to think that the Humane Society has better things to do than pick on little people,” she said.
“I didn’t know [the device would cause pain] and if I’d known right off the bat I would have taken [the dogs] to a vet.
“This is all just bulls---.”
Teeple was cross-examined at length by prosecutor Ross Drummond yesterday. At one point, he had her affix one of the castrating bands to his thumb using the 22-cm long forceps to see how the device was used.
Drummond noted that it caused pain in Crown attorneys.
He also questioned how she could apply iodine daily to the dog’s genitals and the open wound that remained after the testicles dropped off, as she testified she did, without the dog showing signs of discomfort.
Teeple maintained that the dog showed no signs of pain during the procedure or afterwards as his scrotum turned gangrenous and rotted away.
“There was no discomfort shown by the dog at all when you grabbed his testicles and put this band around?” he asked incredulously.
“He never showed it,” Teeple replied.
He pressed on about the effects of the procedure and the pain that veterinarians testified the dog must have been in, abruptly ending his cross-examination when Teeple made her only admission that banding could have hurt.
“When you first put that band on the dog, it was in some pain, wasn’t it?” he asked.
“You could say so, yes,” Teeple replied in a small voice.
Her lawyer, Hubert Hogle, argued that Teeple had no malicious intent. She castrated the dog, he said, because she had given it to a friend and the man threatened to shoot Oliver because he was urinating in the house and the friend couldn’t afford to pay for a neuter.
The owner faces a trial next year.
“At no time did she deny doing it, only that she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong,” Hogle told the court.
Teeple even signed a statement admitting castrating the dog in front of Humane Society inspector Kelly Murphy when the incident was investigated last year. She broke into tears afterwards and said she didn’t know it would cause pain, which caused Murphy to say, “Let’s bring your husband out and see if he likes it.”
Teeple’s lawyer told the court that her client has gotten rid of the Elastrator and will not castrate any more dogs. Oliver was taken by the Humane Society and adopted out to another family late last year.
Two similar cases are pending in Ottawa after a dog and a cat were castrated by their owners there.

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