It’s been nearly five years since the court process for April Irving began. On Wednesday that process came to an end as Irving was handed down her sentence: a lifetime prohibition on owning any dogs in the province of Alberta.
Judge Derek Redman also issued Irving more than $15,000 in fines. Redman, however, deemed Irving’s time spent in custody will serve as payment for those fines.
Crown prosecutor Tyler Raymond said although the court process was lengthy, the Crown was satisfied with the final outcome.
“Today marks the end of a five-year venture to hold April Irving accountable for what was absolutely one of the worst animal atrocities in this province and this country’s history,” Raymond said.
“The Crown’s significant concern here was to see to it that Ms. Irving would never have the ability to own, or have the care and control for a dog for the remainder of her life in this province.”
Irving was facing over a dozen charges in relation to what’s been described as the province’s largest animal seizure in Alberta SPCA history. About 200 dogs were seized from a Milk River property between December 2014 and January 2015.
Many of the animals seized were malnourished, in poor health and in need of medical attention. Dead dogs were also found on the property and in a trailer.
In October 2019, the 59-year-old pleaded guilty to offenses under the Alberta Animal Protection Act.
Irving was expected to be present at the Lethbridge courthouse on Wednesday for the judge to hand down his sentencing decision, but she didn’t show up.
Irving’s lawyer, Bjoern Wolkmann, told the court he had spoken to her on the phone and that Irving said she would not be in attendance as she had just undergone a medical procedure.
The judge decided to continue with the sentencing regardless.
The lifetime ban handed down to Irving Wednesday is only valid in Alberta, however, Irving is also facing a similar ban in Saskatchewan.
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