Lion euthanized after removal from Ontario home

by: Ontario SPCA

Following the removal of 18 animals, including one lion, eight dogs, six cats, two cockatoos and one turtle, from a property in the Township of Adelaide-Metcalfe, west of London, Vivian Singer, 47, of Kerwood, has been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with 11 counts of cruelty to animals. Charges include eight counts for failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, care and medical attention to eight dogs and one lion; two counts for failing to provide suitable and adequate care to six cats and two cockatoos; and one count for failing to provide medical attention to three cats.

On November 22, 2006, in response to a call from Ontario Provincial Police; Ontario SPCA and London Humane Society investigators, in coordination with the Ontario Provincial Police, executed a search warrant at the property.

Ontario SPCA and London Humane Society investigators discovered the animals in unsanitary living conditions, which included excessive amounts of fecal matter and poor ventilation, in addition to inadequate food and water, and in some cases no food and water. Many of the animals had a thin body condition, including the lion, the dogs and a number of the cats. The lion was confined in a very restrictive pen within the house.

On the written recommendation of the attending veterinarian the lion, eight dogs, six cats, two cockatoos and one turtle were removed immediately for further veterinary examination and to receive necessary treatment.

Sadly, the lion has since been humanely euthanized, following the recommendation of a veterinarian. Concerns included quality of life issues stemming from the fact that the animal was blind: for example, being vulnerable to attack if introduced to an existing pride (the social group in which lions typically live); its quality of life if kept socially isolated outside of a pride; and the lack of appropriate facilities available to take a lion that must be kept separate from other animals. Three of the domestic cats that were removed were also euthanized, on the recommendation of a veterinarian, to relieve their pain and suffering.

Singer surrendered five dogs and three cats to the London Humane Society. One dog that Singer has not surrendered remains with the London Humane Society and is receiving medical care. The turtle, two cockatoos and two dogs were returned to Singer after she met requirements related to their husbandry and ongoing care.

Ontario SPCA Orders related to the living conditions and care of the remaining animals on the property, which include wolves, coyotes, wolf-dog hybrids, chickens, geese, ducks, a horse, a raccoon and a donkey, remain in place and the Ontario SPCA continues to monitor the property for compliance. Vivian Singer will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice, London on May 31, 2007.

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