June 18, 2015 - 9:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A lawyer for a lifelong farmer says his client wants a couple of his animals back as pets after 51 of them were seized over concerns they were roaming around the neighbourhood.
Jay Michi said SPCA officials executed a warrant on a farm operated by Paul Sabyan, seizing 31 piglets, 18 sows, one boar and one bay stallion.
“They were concerned he’s too old to husband them at (age) 77," Michi said.
“He just wants his horse back and one pet pig."
Michi will apply for the two animals to be returned through an SPCA review process.
Marcie Moriarty, the agency’s chief prevention and enforcement officer, said a review is underway. If unsuccessful, Sabyan can file an appeal with the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board, and ultimately the courts.
Moriarty said the animals were seized on June 2 at Sabyan's farm in Barriere, B.C., near Kamloops.
“They met the definition of distress under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act," she said. "The vast majority have been surrendered.”
The animals were placed in foster care, she said.
Sabyan pleaded guilty and was sentenced in March under the Livestock Act for allowing his animals to roam on neighbours’ property and a nearby highway.
During sentencing, a Crown lawyer outlined the frustration of neighbours and the danger to motorists from the pigs, which repeatedly escaped an enclosure and ranged in size from 90 to 400 kilograms.
Sabyan also pleaded guilty under the Motor Vehicle Act to allowing domestic animals on a highway.
Provincial court Judge Len Marchand called the matter “more than a nuisance.”
“There was significant damage to neighbours’ property and risks to motorists on the Yellowhead Highway," he said.
As part of his one-year probation term, Sabyan was required to provide proof of his fence repair and evidence of inspections.
Michi said Sabyan has complied with the court order and that the SPCA action is unrelated to his probation.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015