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Animal cruelty trial concludes

Mittens. – courtesy of Velda Tapp Pretty

Judge Lynn Cole is expected to hand down her decision in the Mittens animal cruelty case in a Stephenville courtroom on December 1, 2020.

Jody Anderson, 39, of Cape Ray has been charged with two counts of unlawfully causing an animal unnecessary suffering (CCC 2008 [445.1]) and one count of injuring or endangering an animal (CCC 1985 [445.a]). Peter Rossiter of the Codroy Valley has been charged with one count of unlawfully causing an animal unnecessary suffering (CCC 2008 [445.1]) and one count of injuring or endangering an animal (CCC 1985 [445.a]).

The charges stem from allegations that the two killed a rescue cat named Mittens with an axe at Anderson’s residence in Port aux Basques in September of 2019.

During a one day trial held in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, Oct. 29, Crown Prosecutor Jill Quilty called three witnesses, beginning with Constable Leon Sheppard. The RCMP officer presented crime scene photographs which he believes shows blood stains on the bathroom floor. However, upon cross examination by the defense he revealed that the stains had not actually been tested for feline blood.

Velda Tapp Pretty, a volunteer with In Memory of Shadow cat rescue group, testified that Mittens belonged to the group but was being fostered by Anderson after the cat’s original owner had died.

The third crown witness, who stated that she was afraid of the accused, gave two statements to the RCMP. Two weeks after initially denying any knowledge of the incident, she gave a second statement to investigators. Under questioning by Quilty, the witness testified that the two took the cat into the bathroom, though she could not recall who carried it.

“I saw Mr. Rossiter and Ms. Anderson going into the bathroom with an axe and a garbage bag, a black garbage bag. They come back out with no cat and they were going to dump it somewhere,” testified the witness.

The witness stated that she did not venture into the bathroom herself.

Neither Anderson nor Rossiter testified in their own defense, nor did their attorneys call any witnesses on their behalf.

If convicted summarily, the charges can result in fines of up to ten thousand dollars and possible imprisonment for up to eighteen months. If convicted under an indictable offense, the defendants can be sentenced up to five years imprisonment.

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