PORT AUX BASQUES – Jody Anderson of Port aux Basques and Peter Rossiter of O’Regan’s were both convicted of injuring or endangering an animal (CCC 1985 [445-a]). Judge Lynn Cole rendered her decision in Stephenville court last Tuesday, Dec. 2. Cole stayed charges of unlawfully causing an animal unnecessary suffering.
Anderson had been fostering Mittens, a cat that had lost its owner and was subsequently taken into care by rescue group In Memory of Shadow.
During the trial held in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, Oct. 29, a witness testified seeing both Anderson and Rossiter enter a bathroom with the cat, an empty garbage bag and an axe. When they re-emerged, something was being carried in the bag and the cat was not seen again.
Cole acknowledged that there were some minor inconsistencies with the witness testimony, but that this was not out of the ordinary and, “the only reasonable explanation of what happened to the cat is that it was killed by either Mr. Rossiter or Ms. Anderson or both.”
Velda Tapp Pretty, who also testified at the trial, is with the In Memory of Shadow rescue.
“I am not surprised by the verdict at all. I knew from day one they were both guilty. It was proving what I knew and I did. Without the body of Mittens I was concerned, but enough evidence was left behind to prove what was testified against them was indeed true,” said Pretty.
She noted the crucial role the chief witness played in securing justice for Mittens.
“I actually feel very sorry for that lady. She was a victim. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time with very bad company unknown to her. No cell phone, no house phone and no vehicle,” noted Pretty. “In this case she is Mittens’ true hero. Without her testifying we wouldn’t have been able to get that guilty plea.”
Pretty has been fierce in her efforts to secure tougher penalties for those who would harm animals.
“I am active now in a group called Time For Change 2020. We have a petition going across Newfoundland and Labrador where we need actual signatures to pass to the government demanding they look at the laws and penalties for animal cruelty.”
Pretty admits it has been rough going now and then.
“I walked alone with very little support. Some of my Shadow friends stuck this out with me and members of other outside rescues,” she said.
While she continues her quest to get the laws changed, Pretty continues to work on writing her victim impact statement, a process she began last year.
“The effects on the community, the shame and the little children that this affected, is brutal. So yes I want them know that, even to her it was an (expletive) old cat he was our cat and he meant a lot to a lot of people, especially his deceased owner and his life counted just like hers.
She had a choice to at any time pick up the phone and return him to the shelter or one the volunteers… Open the door and put him out,” noted Pretty. “She made the choice to murder and get support to do so.”
Anderson and Rossiter will be sentenced on Jan. 22, 2021 in Stephenville.
Said Pretty, “I would like to see the maximum penalty imposed and also a lifetime of not being permitted to own an animal as a pet.”