Couple formerly living in Cedar charged with animal cruelty following raid

Couple formerly living in Cedar charged with animal cruelty following raid
CHEK

A couple that formerly lived in Cedar is potentially facing jail time on nine animal cruelty charges.

This past fall, the BC SPCA raided the property they were renting near Nanaimo and seized nearly 200 animals. Rhees and Tanisha Lynn Kendall lived at the property until the end of January.

On October 31, 2023, the SPCA raided the property, seizing 177 animals — one of the largest raids in SPCA history.

“I believe there have been larger seizures not consisting of so many different types of animals, but this one is up there. One of the highest we’ve had to deal with,” said Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior protection officer.

The seized animals included dogs, cats, goats, chickens, ducks, rats and quail. Neighbours reported the animals as emaciated and unwell.

The SPCA did attend the property and gave the Kendalls warnings about needed improvements for the animals’ care.

After the seizure, documents show the couple appealed to get 59 of the animals back.

In late January, the BC Farm Industry Review Board accepted the evidence that the animals were in distress except for a pair of snakes.

The board ordered the snakes be given back to the couple. It also ordered the couple to pay nearly $90,000 in costs to care for and house the animals after their seizure.

It also said the SPCA could destroy, sell or adopt out the animals.

“I’m happy to report that the majority of these animals were rehomed, so that was good news,” said Drever.

CHEK News contacted Rhees Kendall, who is no longer living on Vancouver Island. He was unaware of the charges.

On the phone, he said, “We’re going to fight the charges to the fullest extent of the law. There has been no purposeful wrongdoing.”

He also said the neighbours who reported the animals in distress in the first place have been “…doing their best to make our lives very difficult.”

Today, neighbours of the property said they felt relieved to hear about the charges.

The SPCA says the charges fall under the Criminal Code of Canada.

“The maximum penalty would be a $10,000 fine and/or up to two years in prison. I’ve yet to see the maximum penalty in my 43-year career,” said Drever.

The online court documents do not indicate when the couple will make their first appearance in court.

READ ALSO: BC SPCA takes ‘large seizure of animals’ from Ladysmith area farm

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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