June 14th, 2024

Return to sender? Warrant issued for accused puppy mailer

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 14, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A warrant has been issued for a former southern Alberta woman accused of trying to mail a puppy and kitten through Canada Post more than three years ago.

The warrant was issued last week in Lethbridge provincial court, only three days after the accused, Jill Heather Marshall, was released from Alouette Correctional Centre For Women in Maple Ridge, B.C. where she was in custody on charges out of that province.

Lethbridge lawyer Justin Dean said he had not heard from Marshall since her release and doesn’t have any instructions on how she wants to proceed with her charges.

Marshall is charged under the Animal Protection Act with causing an animal to be in distress, stemming from an investigation in the summer of 2019.

Vulcan County Enforcement Services reported that a post office employee in the Village of Milo, about 130 kilometres north of Lethbridge, discovered a puppy and kitten inside a cardboard box. The box had postage, a destination address, and the animals had stamps stuck to their heads. The following week, another box with a puppy inside was dropped off at the mail outlet.

The animals were unharmed and taken to the Calgary Humane Society.

According to Canada Post’s website, live animals cannot be mailed unless there is an agreement with Canada Post before mailing. Bees, day-old chicks and hatching eggs, parasites, leeches and some other small cold-blooded animals can be mailed under certain conditions.

After several court appearances in Lethbridge, Marshall pleaded not guilty in October of 2019, and a trial was set for May 28, 2020. The trial was adjourned, however, because of the COVID pandemic and subsequent court restrictions. On March 9, 2021 a new trial was set for the following December, but Marshall never showed up for the trial and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Dean told court he had regular contact with Marshall while she was in custody in B.C., but he didn’t know she had been released and she never told him beforehand.

In addition to her charge of causing an animal to be in distress, Marshall also faces numerous charges from earlier this year, including flight from police, mischief causing damage, assault, assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, failure to stop after an accident, dangerous driving and attempted theft of a motor vehicle.

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