Man facing charges over alleged puppy mill in Escuminac fails to appear in court

·1 min read
Eric Couture bred dogs inside a former church in Escuminac. He's facing charges related to the care of the animals at his facility. (CBC - image credit)
Eric Couture bred dogs inside a former church in Escuminac. He's facing charges related to the care of the animals at his facility. (CBC - image credit)

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Quebec man who was a no-show in court Monday for a trial related to a New Brunswick dog kennel.

Eric Couture was expected to stand trial in provincial court in Miramichi for charges in connection with a large seizure of dogs two years ago.

Judge Johanne-Marguerite Landry issued arrest warrants for Couture and Kevin Lockwood, a witness who also failed to appear in court.

Couture and Lockwood were both charged in August 2020 under the SPCA Act of New Brunswick with failing to provide adequate medical care to an animal, and confining an animal in unsanitary conditions.

They were also charged with wilfully failing to provide adequate care to an animal under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Lockwood's trial is scheduled for July 25.

Resident concerns

The charges stem from a seizure at a church-turned dog kennel in Escuminac, about 60 kilometres east of Miramichi. New Brunswick SPCA took in more than 60 puppies, which were all later adopted.

The kennel, which bred pinschers, passed multiple inspections and was licensed by the SPCA.

Residents in the surrounding area had been raising concerns over the breeding operation for several years, alleging the kennel was a puppy mill. In 2017, more than 150 people protested outside the building claiming the dogs were mistreated.

After the demonstration, Couture opened the building to protesters in an effort to dispel the allegations.

Couture's new trial date is pending his arrest.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting