The sentence given this week in provincial court to a St. John’s man who starved his dog to death and put its remains in a suitcase came as good news to many animal advocates and animal lovers.
John Michael Corcoran not only got almost nine months’ jail time, with 18 months’ probation, for his animal cruelty conviction, along with other charges, he is also banned from ever owning an animal again.
The 33-year-old — who had a previous animal cruelty conviction — is not even permitted to live in a residence where there’s an animal or bird.
Details about the dog’s suffering were so disturbing, they caused the province’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Laura Rogers, to break down in tears when she testified, calling it the worst case of emaciation she’s seen in her 20 years of practice.
Corcoran had allowed his three-year-old pit bull, Diamond, to starve, put its remains in a suitcase and left it in the basement of a Buckmaster’s Circle rental unit.
It was discovered on Aug. 15, 2015, by employees from the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., who were there to prepare the unit for the next tenant. They saw liquid seeping out of the suitcase and called police.
The lifetime pet ban for Corcoran, handed down by Judge Jim Walsh, is being applauded by many, but some social media chatter is asking the question how such a court order can be enforced.
RNC Const. James Cadigan told The Telegram that tips from the public help.
“When a person is released on a court order and we receive information the person is breaching a condition of their court order, an investigation is initiated,” Cadigan said. “If we determine there are reasonable and probable grounds that the person has breached the court order, the person is charged.”
Later, RNC Const. Geoff Higdon elaborated, saying, “While there are instances where we proactively check up on court orders, it’s not possible to track the activities of every individual in the community who has been placed on a court ordered condition.”
Anyone with information that could help in any case can contact the RNC at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be provided anonymously on the NL Crime Stoppers website at www.nlcrimestoppers.com.