December 5, 2012, Ottawa: In consultation with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has laid criminal charges against four people, following the unlawful removal of sheep from a federally quarantined premises in April 2012.
With the full support of the Canadian sheep industry, the CFIA administers Canada’s Scrapie Eradication Program. The program promotes sheep health and protects a valuable industry. It is alleged that by unlawfully removing and concealing the sheep, the program was threatened and the health and safety of other sheep and the industry were jeopardized.
Linda Frances Jones, also known as Montana Jones (54), Michael Schmidt (58), Suzanne Atkinson (52) and Robert Pinnell (46), are all charged with:
- obstructing a CFIA inspector, contrary to subsection 35(1) of the Health of Animals Act;
- conspiracy to commit obstruction of a CFIA inspector, contrary to paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code;
- transport or causing to transport an animal under quarantine, contrary to subsection 91.4(5) of the Health of Animals Regulations;
- conspiracy to transport or causing to transport an animal under quarantine, contrary to paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code; and,
- conspiracy to defraud the public of a service over $5,000, contrary to paragraph 465 (1)(c) of the Criminal Code.
Linda Frances Jones is further charged with one additional count of obstructing a CFIA inspector, contrary to subsection 35(1) of the Health of Animals Act. Robert Pinnell is further charged with one count each of attempting to obstruct justice, contrary to subsection 139(2) of the Criminal Code and obstructing a public officer, contrary to paragraph 129(a) of the Criminal Code.
The accused were charged following an investigation into the removal of 31 Shropshire sheep from a federally quarantined farm in Eastern Ontario on or about April 2, 2012. The farm was suspected of being contaminated with scrapie, a fatal, transmissible neurological disease of sheep and goats.
The charges were laid in the Ontario Court of Justice in Cobourg, ON, on December 4, 2012.