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Man gets lifetime ban on owning animals after pleading guilty to cruelty charges

Three of the 15 dogs at the site were dead and the remaining 12 were emaciated
ospca logo 2017

A 44-year-old Greenstone man, west of Kapuskasing, has been sentenced to a lifetime ban on owning or caring for animals after pleading guilty to three counts of animal cruelty.

On April 10, John O'Nabigon Jr. pled guilty in Thunder Bay to the Criminal Code charges of willfully causing unnecessary suffering, and willfully neglecting to provide suitable and adequate care of 31 dogs, as well as killing three dogs without willful and lawful cause.

He also pled guilty to a charge of causing distress.

O'Nabigon was sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence on each count, one-year probation and a lifetime ban on owning, caring for or keeping any species of animals on any property he owns or rents. He was also ordered to pay $27,203 in restitution to the Thunder Bay & District Humane Society

On February 7, 2017, snowmobilers called the Greenstone OPP after discovering a large number of dogs owned by O'Nabigon that were tethered in a remote wilderness location near Longlac. Three of the 15 dogs at the site were dead and the remaining 12 were emaciated.

The dogs were removed by the OPP, with help from the Greenstone-based animal welfare organization Want a Pet?, and the individuals who found the dogs.

The dogs were placed into the care of the TBDHS, where they received immediate veterinary attention. 

On March 31, 2017, an Ontario SPCA officer and OPP went to O'Nabigon’s home in Longlac and found more 17 more dogs in a state of distress. The dogs did not have appropriate shelter, and no food or water available to them. O’Nabigon voluntarily surrendered the dogs on his property, and inside his house, to the TBDHS.

They also received immediate veterinary care and were all deemed to be underweight, except for one dog.

“The level of neglect and suffering that many of these animals endured is horrible to imagine. Abandoning an animal to starve to death, or simply failing to provide the basic care of an animal, will not be tolerated,” says Lynn Michaud, Senior Inspector, Ontario SPCA.