Carol Battaglio has received a suspended sentence and two years of probation on a count of causing distress to animals in a case dating back to 2015. Her probation includes 100 hours of community service.
Battaglio was charged after nine alpacas, one llama and five chickens were removed from her property in 2015, and the charges related to one of the alpacas and a rooster. The rooster charge was later dropped.
According to the court transcript, Battaglio was charged with two counts under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of causing or permitting some alpacas she owned to be or continue to be in distress between October 1, 2015, and November 29, 2015, and similarly, causing or permitting a rooster, to be or continue to be in distress from November 19 to 21, 2015.
In an interview following her sentencing in Powell River Provincial Court on September 28, Battaglio said she used to think BC SPCA was a wonderful organization looking after animals, but under existing legislation, it has far too much power.
“It needs changing,” said Battaglio. “They overreach what they should be doing. I’m not the only one that’s had a problem with them. I’ve had them on my case for 10 years. I’m just sick and tired of it.”
Rather than being a society that’s looking after animals, they’ve turned into a policing agency, said Battaglio.
“They are not a benevolent society, believe me,” said Battaglio.
She said one of the problems she had with her animals is there is no large animal veterinarian in Powell River and she couldn’t get anybody to come over to Powell River to attend to her animals. She said the problems arose when she had an alpaca with congenital crooked teeth, and when she requested another woman foster the alpaca with the teeth problems, Battaglio said she was reported to BC SPCA.
“The SPCA came and took all of my alpacas – 10 animals they took,” said Battaglio. “They had a vet look at them all and they were in okay shape.”
Battaglio said, however, she relinquished all of the animals. She said the case took five years to resolve in the courts and if she hadn’t relinquished the animals, she would have had a huge bill to pay for the animals’ care.
According to a court transcript, judge Bruce Dyer, in his judgment, said he was of the opinion that there is more than sufficient evidence in this case, including the total absence of timely veterinary care for the alpacas, and absences of Battaglio from the farm where the animals were kept, that there was the requisite standard of proof that Battaglio permitted these various animals to be in distress or continue to be in distress.
Battaglio said that regarding her absences, she had a part-time job out of town but there was a caretaker at the farm during her absences. She said it was difficult to get a large animal veterinarian during that summer to look after her animals.
Battaglio said the court case dragged on for 12 days, which was an expense to her and to the public. She said she is not cruel to animals.
BC SPCA has not responded to the Peak's request for comment.