A Halifax woman has been sentenced to 10 months in jail after pleading guilty to leaving nine dogs in a minivan, leading to the death of one of the dogs.

The Nova Scotia SPCA says 72-year-old Gloria Adele Martell of Halifax was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a number of animal cruelty charges.

On Nov. 21, 2016, the Nova Scotia SPCA responded to an after-hours emergency of several dogs in a parked minivan.

The SPCA says one dog was tied to the front seat while others were trapped in tiny carriers, unable to sit or stand. There was an overpowering smell of ammonia and garbage in the van.

“The dogs were heavily covered in urine and feces,” says Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector at the Nova Scotia SPCA. “Some were emaciated and full of parasites. One was suffering from an untreated broken leg, which had to be amputated.”

The SPCA says Martell arrived in another vehicle, refused to stop, and sped away. Martell later returned to the scene, where she was arrested. 

Eight dogs, along with one deceased dog, were taken into custody and transported to the Nova Scotia SPCA for immediate care.

All living eight dogs were successfully rehabilitated and rehomed. A necropsy was performed on the deceased dog, confirming it died of severe emaciation, gastric hemorrhage, endo-parasitism, and pressure sores. 

On Wednesday, Martell pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • owning and willfully permitting unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to dogs
  • having custody or control of domestic dogs, abandoning them in distress and willfully neglecting, failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care

The judge sentenced Martell to 10 months jail for the first charge and three months in jail for the second charge. The sentences will be served concurrently. She was also sentenced to 35 months of probation and ordered to undergo mental health counselling. 

Martell was also ordered to pay $1,815 restitution to the SPCA and given a lifetime prohibition order on owning animals.