Xin (Ivy) Zhou outside Surrey Provincial Court Wednesday. (Tracy Holmes photo)

UPDATE: B.C. woman gets 7-year ban in animal cruelty case after 82 cats, dogs seized

Two years probation and 100 hours of community service for Surrey woman Xin (Ivy) Zhou

A Surrey woman charged with animal cruelty in connection with the February 2016 seizure of 82 distressed animals has been found guilty.

In Surrey Provincial Court Wednesday, Xin (Ivy) Zhou received two years probation but – despite a request from Crown – no lifetime ban from owning, caring for or possessing animals.

Judge Daniel Weatherly did, however, ban Zhou from owning, caring for or possessing domestic animals for the next seven years.

In rendering the penalty, Weatherly said he had to consider that Zhou, 51, has no prior record.

“Most importantly, she did not intentionally harm these animals, and today, she’s expressed a willingness to learn how to take care of animals properly,” Weatherly said after delivering the guilty verdict that morning.

The decision concluded seven days of trial that began April 23.

BC SPCA had announced in 2016 that Zhou had been charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, following the seizure of 67 cats, 12 dogs and three puppies from a property in the 19400-block of Colebrook Road.

According to a 2016 news release, the cats seized were primarily Persians and short-haired exotics; the seized dogs included four French bulldogs, a Boston terrier, a Pomeranian with three puppies, a Chihuahua, a poodle, a Rottweiler, a Doberman, a Jack Russell terrier and a shiba inu.

Zhou was charged with a single count of causing an animal to be in distress. The charge encompassed all of the animals that were deemed to be in distress, prosecutor Kelly Johnston confirmed to Peace Arch News outside court Wednesday.

RELATED: Two ‘distressed’ cats euthanized

RELATED: Charges in Surrey animal-cruelty case

Weatherly recounted witness evidence that detailed animals found in dark, inadequately ventilated and unsanitary conditions, with many suffering from conditions including ringworm and respiratory illness.

While the court heard during trial that Zhou had taken animals to the vet about 80 times for treatment or diagnosis of various conditions, Zhou’s evidence was that “very few” animals were sick, Weatherly said.

She also claimed that SPCA officials who had visited her property on previous occasions “wanted her cats because they were expensive,” and that they had given her instructions on what she should do regarding their care “about 10 times.”

Those instructions, she testified, were not translated into Mandarin and Zhou “estimated she understood 10 per cent of what they said.”

The judge said he “did not find Miss Zhou to be a credible witness.”

“At times her evidence made no logical sense,” he said.

While defence counsel Chen Shen had submitted a defence of due diligence – noting Zhou had taken steps to improve the animals’ conditions and that it didn’t require that perfect standards to be met – Weatherly said the facts at bar “are far, far below” perfect standards.

Prior to sentencing, Zhou – who had told court she knew 30-50 English words – spoke to reporters without a translator. One person at the scene who speaks Mandarin said Zhou had told media she planned to appeal the decision.

At the sentencing hearing, Shen told Weatherly that a lifetime ban on animal ownership is “not warranted.”

twitter.com

Through an interpreter, Zhou – asked by Weatherly prior to sentencing if she had anything she wanted to say – told the court that her “lifelong goal is to be someone… who can take care of animals well.”

“I wish your honour would give me a chance, let me learn how to let the animals live happier, healthier life,” she said. “I’m prepared to work hard at it for the rest of my life.”

Both Crown and defence had agreed a suspended sentence would be appropriate.

Weatherly also imposed conditions including that Zhou perform 100 hours of community service by year’s end, and that she is not to live at any residence where domestic animals are present.

Zhou is schedule to return to court in January 2019, faced with a charge of breaching conditions while awaiting trial. She entered a not-guilty plea on that charge Wednesday afternoon.

Just Posted

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Mt. Waddington’s Salvation Army releases eye-opening statistics report for 2017

Shelter overnight stays saw a 431 per cent increase since 2014.

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Port Hardy Baptist Church’s new building finished entirely by volunteer labour

Courtenay Baptist Church raised $19,000 for an awning at the entrance of the building.

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Most Read