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

Surrey couple visits the Philippines each year to give back to wife’s former village

Nissa and Bob Clarkson give toys to children, provide medical-dental missions

Surrey mom says Liberal budget falls short in helping people with autism

Louise Witt, whose son has autism, says budget provisions like ‘putting a Band-Aid on a cancer’

Upbeat White Rock concert blends ecology, history

The Wilds and Tiller’s Folly raise ‘Voices for the Salish Sea’

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone ‘took seven decades of Teagan’s life’

STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

PART ONE: A special series on the past, present and future of our LGBTQ+ community

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read