July 14th, 2024

Charge laid over cat abuse in Picture Butte

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 17, 2024.

Last Chance Cat Ranch photo - A cat, who the Last Chance Cat Ranch is calling Axel Rose, is said to be settling in safely at the rescue recovering from undetermined injuries.

A 28-year-old Picture Butte man has been charged with cruelty to animals in a disturbing case that has a local cat rescue agency calling for help to care for animals they say were abused.

Last Chance Cat Ranch of Lethbridge brought the horrific discovery to the public’s attention on Facebook last weekend, sharing details regarding the animal abuse.

The Herald reached out to Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge but has not received a response as of deadline.

“The owner has clearly told me one kitten stomped on, breaking its spine, dead; another kitten pinned, and its limbs and body pulled and stretched painfully, that kitten is now dead; four, five-month-old kittens, individually microwaved on Monday, all dead. All done by one, two roommates. This is at a residence in Picture Butte and my understanding is it’s been going on for awhile,” Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge posted on its Facebook page.

Coaldale RCMP confirmed this week that on January 8, officers investigated the residence in Picture Butte for the reported animal abuse and 28-year-old Nicholas Whimster was “charged with one count of section 445 of the Criminal Code,” which is injuring and endangering animals.

A court date for Whimster has not been set yet and an RCMP representative could not give any more details or confirm the allegations contained in the cat ranch post.

Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said an investigation is ongoing.

“I can confirm the Alberta SPCA Animal Protection Services team has received a complaint about animals potentially in distress in the Picture Butte area. The investigation is open and active and as such, we are unable to provide details about the investigation,” noted Alberta ASPCA Director of Communications Dan Kobe.

An update on Last Chance Cat Ranch’s Facebook page stated that with the ASPCA assistance the mother cat of the four dead kittens was safely retrieved along with other cats in the household and are undergoing medical treatment at a veterinarian’s.

“Oh, how this poor momma has endured. There is no doubt in our minds, it crushed her heart and soul, hearing her babies’ final moments,” posted Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge on social media.

Last Chance Cat Ranch is accepting donations to assist with the cost of vet treatments. The donation page can be found on Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge Facebook page or be e-transferred to thelccr@gmail.com.

“We are begging you to make change in your town. All of these cats were ‘rescued,’ off the streets of your town. This tells us you have a spay, neuter problem, a roaming problem, and residents are lacking at being responsible pet owners just like in every town; but unfortunately, these poor souls met a horrific end in yours,” posted by Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge on Facebook in a plea to residents of Picture Butte.

“Please step up and make a change. Please make sure your residents know you won’t tolerate animal cruelty. Please promote and find ways to increase your spay, neuter percentage. Take the necessary steps to see change within your town.”

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depending on how the crown proceeds, the charge can either go as a summary or indictable offence, which would determine the max degree to which the lousy nasty gross coward freak could be sentenced. given what we see in our area all too commonly, the lousy nasty gross coward freak will likely get something like not being allowed to have a pet cat for a year. this lousy nasty gross coward freak is likely back in his home, and nothing can stop this wicked abuse from happening again, while no doubt the legal dance is permitted to play out over years. meantime, it is my hope this lousy nasty gross coward freak meets with some real justice, for a change.


as horrible as is the case at hand, perhaps a bit of good may come to the fore and a very many people open up to supporting the amazing work of lccr. they are a humane, heart driven, and an entirely volunteer driven group. thus, every cent of donations goes to rescue, vetting, food, housing and care of the animals. they are a registered charity and they do provide receipts for tax deductions. thelccr@gmail.com


You mentioned that every cent goes to the rescue. Can you explain why the founder had writs of enforcement against the intake house from the CRA prior to it being sold and why the founder, according to herself has been audited by revenue Canada for not paying taxes on the cat rescue?

Asking for a friend.


i cannot speak for nor to the legal issues of ms guinn. however, she had given over her house to the lccr is my understanding. she is no longer active with the lccr due to lengthy and recurring battles with health issues. my point is simple and clear: the lccr works from the heart and has no one on salary. it does an amazing job rescuing homeless, abandoned, and feral cats. they step in where others do not. our city is full of dumped cats, cats that have stupidly been trapped and dumped off elsewhere, where they become streets cats and are made to suffer, often to their bitter deaths. others trap and inflict harm on cats; others still, neglect and abuse cats that they have in their home.the lccr has saved many. all cats in their care receive veterinary attention, and are housed, fed, nurtured and loved.
the lccr is entirely volunteer driven – no salaries. if not for the lccr, who steps up to help when there are sick issues like the one chronicled here? be very certain of this: the sicko that was discovered in picture butte is not a one-off. there are too many people without heart, conscience, and compassion. there are a good many psychopaths about, and not just as ceos of multinationals, or in govt, as the nasty nicholas whimster case demonstrates.


Okay but publicly available financial statements show over $16,000 as an intake home expense so that’s not exactly giving your house away. Not to mention she was breaking the law the whole time she had the cat ranch in there with no one living in it.


i will add neither ms guinn nor the lccr received much – if any – funding from the city. it all began small enough, but too many residents of our city created a growing issue with regard to homeless, displaced and feral cats; mostly, because they did not spay/neuter and were not responsible with regard to life of creature care. for those without much in the way of heart, cats are a nuisance at best, and a target at worst. for those that have compassion for sentient creatures, like ms guinn and what grew into the lccr, every effort has been made to pick up after the city’s thoughtless and heartless.
so, whatever issues one might have with another’s tax issues, that will have nothing to do with the lccr today, which remains an entirely volunteer driven group.
let me ask: given one’s obsession with another’s tax issues, does one boycott the products of, and take issue with every corp that sleazes its way out taxation? why is it that people are more likely to pick a fight with those that endeavour to do good for the whole, instead of going after those that actually bring down the whole? it makes me think of the typical bully: needing a fight, but only with the most vulnerable.


Less of an obsession and more of a valid concern when you see an organization criticizing everyone around them as they continuously bag for money, claiming they never have enough only to find out they’ve had legal issues regarding the substantial funds they do receive.


just to be clear – there are no allegations of which i am aware around the misuse or pocketing of donations. why not arrange to have a look at their facility and see for yourself the beautiful service they perform.
btw – did you read this story? who has stepped up to try and salvage something good from such a gross and nasty event? why do you, your friend, or whomever, choose to keep slamming these people for doing good?

Last edited 5 months ago by biff

Read above comments


first, you refuse to acknowledge the great work that the lccr does even in the light of this horror, where lccr steps up to help with very worst cases of animal abuse and neglect. might one have more heart than just a thing that pumps blood?
your “read above comments,” suggest there is an issue with claiming 16k as an expense. is that illegal? has that been proved as illegal? moreover, how is that pocketing or misappropriating money donated? it is, in fact, a question of what is allowed to be claimed as a tax deduction.
why does it seem you prefer to pick fights with the vulnerable entity that supports other vulnerable entities with good works?
oddly, those that seek to undermine the vulnerable seem never to go after the real robber barons, the ones that steal from the public purse over and over, which makes quality of life worse for most everyone. even here in lethbridge we have a lot of highly suspect dealings going on at city hall, for a great many decades, that should be audited and investigated.
the lccr is worthy of support, and far more than it receives.

Last edited 5 months ago by biff

Once again, read above comments.


your charges are vague, and you provide nothing in support, other than your slant and a tax claim that is or is not agreed to by cra.

Last edited 5 months ago by biff

Remember what happened last time they tried claiming they weren’t breaking the law simply because they had been getting away with it so long? (Spoiler alert: the city told them they had to move)
Maybe it’s time for this issue to get properly investigated as well