A Surrey woman has lost an appeal of her 2018 conviction for animal cruelty in a case where 69 cats and more than a dozen dogs were removed from a large farm property on Colebrook Road.
Xin Ying Zhou was 51 at the time of her trial in provincial court and testified through an interpreter. Her appeal, heard by Justice Paul Riley in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, alleged a miscarriage of justice based on “ineffective assistance of her trial counsel.”
Riley dismissed her appeal, concluding in his March 8 reasons for judgment that Zhou “failed to show a reasonable probability that the conduct of trial counsel impacted on either the reliability of the verdict, or the fairness of the trial, in a manner that would give rise to a miscarriage of justice.”
Zhou was convicted of animal cruelty – causing, permitting, or allowing distress to a number of cats and dogs – under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, related to animals under her care at an acreage property on Colebrook Road in February 2016.
The court heard Zhou operated an animal boarding business on Partridge Crescent in Surrey before relocating to Colebrook Road in late 2015, where she kept animals in a house, and two outbuildings referred to in court as the “cat barn” and the “dog barn.”
Armed with a warrant, the SPCA removed 69 cats and “15 or 16” dogs from the property.
Of the 69 cats removed, roughly half of them had upper respiratory tract infections, 20 per cent had herpes, and 27 per cent were infected with calicivirus.
Eight of the 15 or 16 dogs removed from the property had gastrointestinal parasites.
Zhou testified she didn’t have a license to breed pets but she admitted to breeding on a “non-commercial basis.”
“She had done commercial breeding of pets for 20 years in China, and wanted to get back into that business in Canada,” Riley noted in his reasons. “She found an investor and purchased the Colebrook Road property for that purpose.”