Animal welfare advocates fear for safety of animals at ranch near Vernon

Neighbours and animal welfare advocates are growing increasingly concerned about the welfare of several dozen farm animals in the Vernon area.

A house located off Irish Creek Road burned to the ground Friday. All of the occupants got out safely.

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The owner of the ranch, however, has been under scrutiny before for alleged animal neglect.

Seven years ago, owner Carla Christman pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide necessities for animals.

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Brenda Tonasket and Tia Comer were complete strangers until recently. What they have in common is they’re both concerned about the welfare of the animals on Christman’s ranch.

“Every week, sometimes two times a week, I’m up here taking pictures of the horses because I don’t want the public to forget,” said Tonasket. “And I keep posting on Facebook, social media that I don’t want people to forget. These animals still need our help.”

“There’s no hay down there right now. There was no hay there for three to four days this past week. So what do we do?” Comer said.

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Comer says she’s been bringing hay for the animals for the past five weeks and has tried to adopt some of the dogs and buy some of the horses, but says Christman refused.

The SPCA says that it is in contact with Christman and that, so far, the animals are being fed regularly, although there was no evidence of that when Global News was there Saturday morning.

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The SPCA says it’s monitoring the situation and that the ranch remains under investigation.

As for the cause of the house fire, RCMP say it’s still under investigation.

Two guards hired by the RCMP remain at the entrance to the ranch.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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