By Dean Pritchard, Winnipeg Sun
First posted: Sunday, April 08, 2012 03:59 PM CDT
Manitoba couple has been convicted of keeping dozens of dogs and puppies in filthy, unsanitary conditions.
David John Nikkel and Presilla Ragnanan were found guilty Tuesday of four offences under the Animal Control Act.
Animal welfare officials seized dozens of Labradoodle dogs and puppies from the couple’s St. Agathe area property in December 2008.
Court heard at trial the animals were confined in feces-filled sheds with inadequate ventilation and little or no light.
Provincial veterinarian Dr. Terrence Whiting told court the ammonia levels in the sheds were “almost unbearable … the highest I ever encountered in 30 years. There is no doubt in my mind that these animals were acutely suffering from the effects of poor air quality.”
Court heard vets found fecal matter running 15 inches up the shed walls. One shed was so poorly lit, vets could not see all the animals until tripping on them.
A sentencing date will be set later this month.
In November, Nikkel and Ragnanan sought to have Judge Ted Lismer removed from the case after he was spotted chatting with Whiting outside court. Lismer said the discussion was brief and inconsequential and had no relation to the trial. The motion was later dismissed.
Nikkel is a former city building inspector who in 2004 was convicted of taking bribes. He served a nine-month conditional sentence before the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial. He was convicted again following a second trial in 2007.
Court heard Nikkel received gravel as a bribe from one company, was given a free haircut by another, and asked for a shotgun from a third. In four other instances, Nikkel inspected construction sites and asked for but did not receive bribes of gravel. Witnesses testified Nikkel promised to ignore various bylaw and permit violations in return.