Two people were arraigned in Halifax provincial court Tuesday on animal cruelty charges involving a dog.
Asia Chanel Jones, 21, of Halifax and Ricardo Angelo Sparks, 38, of Dartmouth face Criminal Code charges of causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal and wilfully neglecting or failing to provide adequate food, water, shelter and care.
The offences are alleged to have been committed in Halifax between August 2017 and December 2018.
The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced the charges last month, saying it responded to a report of animal cruelty involving a young dog Dec. 14.
The SPCA and police conducted an investigation that led to Jones and Sparks being arrested Dec. 22. They were released after signing undertakings to a police officer banning them from owning or caring for any animal.
“This was a very complex and severe case of neglect, so we were pleased to have the assistance and support of Halifax police,” Jo-Anne Landsburg, the SPCA’s chief provincial inspector, said in a news release last month.
Prosecutor Rick Hartlen announced Tuesday the Crown is proceeding by indictment on the charges, which means stiffer penalties in the event of a conviction.
The charge of causing unnecessary suffering carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison, while the other charge has a two-year maximum.
Sparks, who was present for his arraignment, plans to apply for legal aid, a duty lawyer informed the court.
Legal aid lawyer Josh Nodelman appeared on behalf of Jones, who did not attend court.
Judge Michael Sherar scheduled the case to return to court April 1.