A 28-year-old Tavistock man has been sentenced to a lifetime prohibition on owning or caring for animals following an investigation into the death of over a thousand pigs in his care.
Ben Stein was sentenced by a justice of the peace in a Norfolk County Provincial Offences Court and prohibited from owning, caring, or being in control of any animal in the business of husbandry and unannounced inspections by the Ontario SPCA for 10 years. He was also ordered to be on probation for two years and to pay a $10,000 fine to the SPCA.
Stein pled guilty on January 18, 2018 to four counts of animal cruelty under the Ontario SPCA Act including failing to provide adequate and appropriate sanitary conditions, ventilation and medical attention.
In February 2017, Ontario SPCA officers attended a pig farm in Langton, located approximately 80 kilometres southeast of London, after receiving a concern about the welfare of pigs on the property. Upon entering a flooded, manure-filled barn in total darkness, the officers discovered dead and dying pigs.
The Ontario SPCA officers, with the assistance of two veterinarians and a representative of Ontario Pork, moved the surviving animals to a dry, well-lit area of the barn where they could be triaged.
An estimated 1,265 pigs were dead when officers arrived and an additional 250 pigs had to be euthanized on-site due to the severe condition in which they were found.