Women charged following New Minas cat hoarding investigation plead not guilty

Published on February 15, 2017

Two women facing animal cruelty charges following a three-and-a-half month Nova Scotia SPCA investigation into an alleged cat hoarding situation in New Minas have pleaded not guilty.

KENTVILLE, NS - Two New Minas women facing animal cruelty charges following a three-and-a-half-month investigation into cat hoarding will stand trial in April.

Johanna Steadman, 58, and Teresa Steadman, 34, are charged jointly with causing an animal to be in distress; failing to provide an animal with adequate food and water, failing to provide adequate medical attention when an animal is wounded or ill and confining an animal to an enclosure or area with unsanitary conditions so as to significantly impair the animal’s health and wellbeing.

Both appeared in Kentville provincial court Feb. 14 and both pleaded not guilty to the charges. The matters have been adjourned to April 12 for trial. It’s alleged that the offences were committed between Aug. 4 and Sept. 22, 2016. The charges have not been proven in court.

The Nova Scotia SPCA received a complaint about alleged cat abandonment at a New Minas residence in early August 2016. When cruelty officers attended the Old Farm Lane property, they discovered an unoccupied home with what was described in a news release as a “serious hoarding situation.”

Because of the amount of debris inside the house, it took officers three-and-a-half months to locate and remove 18 cats from the property. In an earlier interview, Nova Scotia SPCA chief provincial inspector Jo-Anne Landsburg said quite a few of the cats were in poor condition. Several were dehydrated or malnourished.

The SPCA kept the cats for a period of time until their health improved and were able to find homes for all of them. None of the cats were euthanized.

Landsburg said officers had to wear HAZMAT suits because of the conditions inside the residence. Ammonia levels were high. Finding all the cats took a considerable amount of time, as many were frightened and were hiding. Officers had to keep going back to set humane traps to ensure all the cats were rescued.