Gail Benoit agrees not to sell animals

- Lisa Brown, 09 July 2013 in newsNow

The province’s most notorious puppy broker has agreed not to buy and sell animals of any kind.

A hearing had been scheduled in Bridgewater provincial court Tuesday afternoon for a Crown application to increase the restrictions on Gail Ruth Benoit.

The 44 year old was prohibited from buying and selling dogs when she was released by Bridgewater Police in March.

Crown attorney Lloyd Tancock said he was prepared to call evidence at Tuesday’s hearing, but that became unnecessary when Ms Benoit agreed to the tighter restrictions.

“It was our concern that she shouldn’t have any animals for sale, or buying, offering free, whatever,” Mr. Tancock said.

“We did have witnesses scheduled to testify this afternoon, but just at the last minute the defence indicated, once they were aware of the evidence that we were going to call today, that they would not oppose our application,” he added.

The Crown attorney would not give details of what evidence the court may have heard had the hearing gone ahead.

The clause in the new undertaking ordered by Judge Gregory Lenehan reads that Ms Benoit can “not buy, sell, procure, take possession of or solicit for or offer to buy, sell, procure or take possession of any living creatures, whether wild or domesticated.”

Legal aid lawyer Cathy Benton notified the Crown that her client would agree with the change after speaking with Ms Benoit Tuesday morning.

“I’m totally in agreeance with this,” Ms Benoit told the judge Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking with reporters after her court appearance, she claimed she’s been misunderstood.

“I’m not the person everyone thinks I am and today I am like so free because I broke free from a bad relationship that I’ve been dealing with for 24 years,” she said.

“You guys don’t know me, seriously, you don’t know me,” she added, “and I didn’t murder dogs. I didn’t.”

Ms Benoit and her then partner, Dana Bailey, were convicted of animal cruelty in 2009. That was connected to the seizure of 10 dogs from their home near Digby in October 2007, after some puppies died shortly after the couple sold them.

Ms Benoit is scheduled to return to court July 31 to enter pleas on three charges — fraud, theft and identity fraud.

Those allegations stem from claims that she sold two boxers she was supposed to be dog sitting for a New Brunswick woman last fall.

A Bridgewater woman bought those dogs and later contacted police in January after the original owner went public with claims that Ms Benoit had sold her pets without her knowledge.

“This doesn’t, of course, affect anything with respect to the charges that are outstanding,” Mr. Tancock said Tuesday. “This is not an admission on her part of anything. It’s just a agreement to deal with her release conditions.

“As it stands right now, she’s not able to broker the sale, the purchase of or even the transfer without compensation of animals of any kind, whether wild or domesticated, while these matters are pending before the court.”

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