Three dogs were put down after the RCMP executed a warrant on Hobson’s property last year when Jim Stickney deemed three dogs to be in pain or suffering.
Dewey Stickney said that two of the dogs were elderly and one had an accidental grown-in collar which easily could be remedied with medication.
He said that Hobson’s care for her dogs was substandard, but adequate and no dogs were found emaciated or dead.
A Hay River woman who was charged with animal cruelty last year was found not guilty by a judge on Friday.
Linda Hobson, 68, stood before the court on Friday morning as Justice Bob Halifax read his reasoning behind his decision.
Upon hearing the not guilty verdict, she proceeded to hug her defense lawyer, Eamon O’Keefe.
Hobson was a woman of few words as she left the Hay River Court House with friends and family.
“The only comment I have was what I said in court. Not guilty,” she said.
She was charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain to animals and one count of neglecting to provide suitable and adequate shelter, water, food and care for animals after three of the five charges originally laid were dropped late in the afternoon on Thursday.
Last year, she was charged with two counts of each criminal offence and one under the NWT Dog Act.
Over the course of last week’s three day trial, 16 witnesses were called to the stand to testify for both the defense and the prosecution including several RCMP officers, Mayor Kelly Schofield and several animal care experts.
Dewey Stickney, Manning, Alberta veterinarian and expert on animal care spoke on Thursday regarding his opinion on the condition of the dogs upon viewing the 102 photographs provided by the RCMP as evidence for the court.
Halifax also took into consideration some discrepancies in Jim Stickney’s veterinary report and decided that there was no sound evidence to suggest that the dogs were in pain or suffering.
In his report, Jim Stickney indicated that three dogs were put down for humanitarian reasons, stating that one had an ingrown collar, one was covered in growths and was blind, and the third had flipped over paws and was found on scene sliding around on the top of its paws.
Dewey Stickney contradicted his testimony saying that two of the dogs were elderly, while the ingrown collar was accidental.
In his closing arguments, O’Keefe urged the court to consider Hobson’s past and reputation in the community and in the North as someone who loved animals and helped bring veterinary care to Hay River.
Crown Prosecutor Alex Godfrey reflected on the case after the trial wrapped up on Friday.
“We simply put the case in front of the judge,” he said.
“That’s the decision that they made.”
Had she been found guilty, Hobson would have faced a potential lifetime ban on owning or living with animals and 18 months in jail.