Couple banned from Royal Roads campus claim animal cruelty allegations aren’t true

Couple banned from Royal Roads campus claim animal cruelty allegations aren't true

A Colwood couple is now banned from the Royal Roads University campus after they were accused of forcefully removing feathers from peacocks over the weekend.

Every day for the last two months, Richard McCafferty and his wife, Gisele Parent, travel three kilometres from their home to Hatley Park at Royal Roads University.

It’s a short trek, but for the two in their condition, it’s the best they can do. McCafferty says he suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and uses an oxygen machine. Parent has terminal cancer and currently has a few months to a year left to live.

To get outside and pass the time, the two go to the area searching for peacocks to feed and collect fallen feathers from the ground.

“We’re trying to enjoy the rest of what life we have together, and it’s limited,” said McCafferty.

On July 30, the pair were accused of animal cruelty. McCafferty says he was told by campus security they received two complaints of feathers being forcefully removed from the birds.

“Apparently, somebody sent a complaint that we were baiting the birds, jumping off our scooter, jumping on their tails, to gather these feathers. We’re incapable of doing that,” says McCafferty.

Both are in their 60s and use scooters to travel. They prefer Hatley Park because of its proximity to their home and because it’s accessible.

In an email, Royal Roads confirmed to CHEK News that an investigation is underway.

“Royal Roads University Security responded to a call around 6 p.m. Sunday, July 30, following eyewitness reports of the forceful removal of tail feathers from a peacock’s train,” says the university. “Two people are banned from campus while the BC SPCA is investigating allegations of animal cruelty.”

CHEK News contacted the BC SPCA for details on the investigation, but no information was available by deadline.

“We don’t have much time together because of her cancer and my oxygen,” said McCafferty.

The two have been told that if they return to campus, they face the risk of a trespass charge from police.

They’re adamant about their innocence and hope that a resolution will be brought forward soon.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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