Judge puts over Adams sen­tenc­ing, pre­vi­ously con­victed of an­i­mal abuse

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Jac­que­line Gold-Ir­win From the Hanna Her­ald

Those wait­ing with bated breath to hear what Judge J. Shriar would hand con­victed an­i­mal abuser Cather­ine Adams for a sen­tence, will have to wait un­til Novem­ber 2 af­ter the Judge de­layed sen­tenc­ing yet again to pon­der the in­tri­ca­cies of the laws sur­round­ing the case.

While many be­lieved the case to be cut and dry, Shriar said the ques­tion was if Adams, who was found guilty in Fe­bru­ary 2018 on two counts of an­i­mal cru­elty, was a first or sec­ond time of­fender as she’d been sen­tenced for an­i­mal cru­elty charges in B.C. in 2015 af­ter be­ing charged in Al­berta just weeks prior.

When asked if she was cur­rently fac­ing any other charges Adams ad­mit­ted she had an out­stand­ing charge in Ques­nel, B.C. re­gard­ing a breach of her cur­rent re­lease con­di­tions which pro­hibit her from be­ing around an­i­mals.

Shriar asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on if the dogs were in her care and con­trol when she was liv­ing in Ques­nel, to which Adams replied no, the 16 dogs in ques­tion were her grand­moth­ers.

Adams Char­ter Ap­pli­ca­tion re­gard­ing sev­eral de­tails of the case was de­nied by Judge Shriar, who noted that while her point re­gard­ing the lack of be­ing able to ac­cess the dogs to gather their own ev­i­dence might hold some weight in ap­peals court, a char­ter ap­pli­ca­tion must be made be­fore ev­i­dence is heard dur­ing a trial, and not af­ter.

“Ev­ery­thing you’ve raised (in the char­ter ap­pli­ca­tion) is an ap­peal is­sue,” Shriar ex­plained to Adams.

Adams voiced sev­eral com­plaints re­gard­ing the pre­sen­tence re­port, not­ing she did not say that she got into the most trou­ble when she was with her mother. She added she did not drop out of school in Grade 6 be­cause of be­ing bul­lied, but rather she did not care to re­turn to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Ad­di­tion­ally, she noted, she had not self-di­ag­nosed her­self with de­pres­sion and PTSD but rather a court or­dered clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist had sug­gested it might be part of the is­sue.

Adams said the pre­sen­tence re­port claims she was op­posed to med­i­cal treat­ment was also in­ac­cu­rate as she sim­ply was not in favour of med­i­ca­tion.

Fi­nally, in re­gards to the point in the re­port that said she was not at­tempt­ing to find gain­ful em­ploy­ment, Adams said the root cause was the con­di­tions im­posed by her var­i­ous court mat­ters.

She told Judge Shriar be­cause she was not to be in the care or con­trol of an­i­mals, it was dif­fi­cult to know where the line was drawn.

If, for ex­am­ple, she worked at a restau­rant with a fish tank and was asked to feed the fish, would that put her in breach of her 20-year-Canada-wide ban?

If she were to be em­ployed as a house cleaner and cleaned an area des­ig­nated for pets, would that put her in breech? Crown At­tor­ney R. Ped­er­sen noted he felt the points raised by Adams did not im­pact the over­all as­sess­ment made in the pre­sen­tence re­port.

“I haven’t seen many pre­sen­tence re­ports that are as nega­tive as this one,” he noted of the re­port.

Ped­er­sen noted while the case had a num­ber of ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors, like the re­port’s re­peated note of Adam’s lack of re­morse and other charges be­fore and af­ter the trial, he did not see any mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors.

He noted the Crown would be seek­ing jail time, and added while the charges for this case had been laid be­fore Adams was sen­tenced in her 2015 B.C. mat­ters he felt there was cause to con­sider her a sec­ond time of­fender given that there were two con­sec­u­tive in­ci­dents, both of which she had been found guilt for.

Adams ar­gued that jail time would not help re­ha­bil­i­tate her, but rather a sen­tence that had a strong ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nent, such as com­mu­nity ser­vice hours with the SPCA for ex­am­ple, might help her see what she’d been do­ing wrong and help her make amends to the com­mu­nity.

Judge Shriar noted given that Adams had main­tained she was well versed in an­i­mal care and the SPCA stan­dards were too strin­gent, as well as the fact that she felt she had done noth­ing wrong made the con­cept of mak­ing amends moot.

“You don’t feel you did any­thing wrong,” Shriar noted.

Adams said she felt she had failed the an­i­mals, es­pe­cially the two that died af­ter be­ing taken from her care, which she was quick to note was not her fault, but rather due to the fact they es­caped the SPCA. “I’m not say­ing ev­ery­thing was per­fect,” she noted.

“I made a bad de­ci­sion when I left the male husky tied up,” she said, not­ing she didn’t think at the time the dog could jump over the fence.

She ad­mit­ted she didn’t know why she hadn’t taken the time to clean the shed, how­ever noted again she be­lieved at the time the dogs had been prop­erly se­cured in an­other area of the build­ing and in no dan­ger.

“There are some things I wish I’d done differentl­y,” Adams said. “But not all of what I did was wrong ei­ther.”

She said that, putting her in jail would not serve to help her see the er­rors of her ways, but help­ing to ed­u­cate her in proper an­i­mal care might.

Judge Shriar asked if Adams was im­ply­ing that if she’d killed some­one not to put her in jail.

Adams noted if some­one truly had no re­morse, like the re­port claimed she did, then jail or con­di­tions would not pre­vent them from do­ing it again.

“It shows the pub­lic if you be­have that way you go to jail,” Judge Shriar replied dryly.

“To stop the cy­cle you need to teach them how,” Adams shot back.

Adams also said Judge Shriar should take into ac­count the pub­lic scru­tiny that this case, as well as the one in B.C. from 2015 and the 2018 in­ci­dent had placed her un­der.

She noted the im­pact of the pub­lic opin­ion would last all her life, not­ing some me­dia out­lets had even been us­ing her name for in­ci­dents she was not in­volved in, not­ing that they had said she was in­volved in an in­ci­dent in In­n­is­fail, Al­berta she had no part in.

Judge Shriar asked if Adams was say­ing that she had no con­nec­tion to the sit­u­a­tion.

“It wasn’t your grand­mother’s dogs?” she asked tonguein-cheek.

Adams replied no, it was not her grand­mother who had been at the ho­tel with the dogs but her mother, adding she her­self had not been at that ho­tel, but me­dia out­lets had placed her there none-the­less.

Judge Shriar said while she knew there was pub­lic in­ter­est in the sen­tenc­ing, she wanted to en­sure she prop­erly fac­tored in the sen­tenc­ing in B.C. to de­ter­mine, from a le­gal stand­point, if Adams was a first or sec­ond-time of­fender based on the let­ter of the law.

“This is not a sit­u­a­tion where you will get a dis­charge,” Judge Shriar ex­plained.

“The idea a con­di­tional sen­tence would make amends for some­thing you’re not even sorry for,” she noted, de­fied logic.

Shriar, who was vis­i­bly up­set dur­ing parts of Adams com­ments dur­ing the day, said she felt it would be bet­ter if she had time to calm down be­fore sen­tenc­ing Adams.

With those fac­tors in mind she elected to post­pone the sen­tenc­ing un­til Novem­ber 2 at 1 p.m. at the Drumheller Provin­cial Court­house.


Cather­ine Adams was found guilty of two counts of an­i­mal cru­elty at the Hanna Provin­cial Court­house in Hanna, Alta. on Feb. 28. Sen­tenc­ing has been post­poned to Novem­ber 1 at Drumheller Provin­cial Court.

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