Xin (Ivy) Zhou speaks to reporters outside Surrey Provincial Court Wednesday, shortly after the guilty verdict. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Seven-year animal ban for Surrey woman in cruelty case after 82 animals seized

Two years probation and 100 hours of community service follow guilty verdict for 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.”

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.

 

Xin (Ivy) Zhou outside Surrey Provincial Court Wednesday. (Tracy Holmes photo)

A photo released at the time of charges. (SPCA photo)

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Eagle tree cut down in South Surrey for ‘The Eagles’ development

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

TONIGHT: Grand finale of Concerts at the Pier

East Beach event set to begin at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Burnouts in the Sky returns in honour of Bradley McPherson

Annual car show returns for first time since McPherson’s killer was convicted

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

Most Read