(CMR) Sylvia Felicity Lewis (55) made an 11th-hour plea change yesterday morning before her trial was set to start in Summary Court. She has admitted to one charge of animal cruelty after 53 dogs were seized from her Prospect home in May 2019.
The joint operation seizure was a record for the Department of Agriculture and RCIPS; representing the largest number of dogs ever taken from a single owner. He was accused of allowing the dogs to suffer dogs by failing to provide adequate veterinary care”. Her guilty plea covers all of the animals despite it being only one count. The other charges were relating to specific dogs.
Charged November 2019 Lewis had initially taken to social media to deny her innocence. She had been in the dog breeding business for numerous years and concerns had arisen by a previous commercial location about the welfare of the dogs. However, nothing was done and she eventually moved her dog farm to her home in Prospect. 11 of the dogs died when taken into custody because of poor health or euthanization due to the parvovirus. All other dogs were re-homed and adopted out to the community.
Prosecutor Darlene Oko stated that they would be seeking to recover the substantial expenses incurred for the care of the animals after the seizure. There will also be a 10-year ban prohibiting her from owning or caring for animals. She shared: “The prosecution is willing to accept Ms. Lewis’s guilty plea to count two.”
Lewis returns to court next month, April 27, to be sentenced and remains free on bail. Her attorney, John Furniss indicating he would be arguing some mitigating factors in her favor during the sentencing hearing.