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

All Campbell River school district staff to undergo indigenous training

New indigenous education policy puts SD72 at forefront of province

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Don’t become a Search and Rescue statistic this long weekend

Learn how to prepare and be safe in the great outdoors

Regional district considers water rate hikes south of Campbell River

Utility rates failing to meet costs or generate reserve funds

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Most Read