Pets place home off limits for convicted Oliver rancher

Rudy Harfman can’t go home until his wife gets rid of the four cats and two dogs living there.

Rudy Harfman can’t go home until his wife gets rid of the four cats and two dogs living there.

The Oliver rancher, who was found guilty of causing injury to animals being conveyed in February, pleaded with Judge Gale Sinclair on Monday in Penticton provincial court that all he wanted to do was go home. Unfortunately for him, his wife put the pets ahead of her husband. Harfman cannot control or reside on the same premise as any bird or animal according to his sentence.

“I am not giving up my dog and cats and I can’t ask my tenant to give their dog up,” Celia Harfman angrily fired back to Sinclair when he asked what the animal situation was in the home.

The rancher was given a six-month conditional sentence and 30 months probation in what is one of the largest seizures of animals in distress in B.C. history. A total of 121 cows, four sheep and a donkey were taken from their property in April 2006 after several complaints about the poor conditions the animals were living in. There was also 37 dead cattle and sheep found on the property. Four of the cattle and one sheep were in critical distress and euthanized onsite.

Harfman was in custody on Monday after two counts of breach were laid against him. Crown counsel Nashina Devji alleged that on April 23 Harfman was driving the transportation truck carrying his cattle to another location and was overlooking his cattle in a field while standing on a public road on April 25. She said Harfman is still on his six-month conditional sentence during which he cannot possess or care for any animal.

“Mr. Harfman is doing what it takes to make it appear he is not caring for them … the truth is Mr. Harfman hasn’t given up caring for the animals and is continuing to be intimately involved,” said Devji.

Defence lawyer Jim Pennington told the court Harfman had no hand in loading the cattle onto the truck and only had driven because the person helping did not hold a licence. It was heard in court that Harfman had sold the remainder of his cattle to his brother. Part of the sentencing in February gave Harfman 30 days to dispose of the approximately 40 head of cattle he had at the time.

A hearing on the two breaches will be held on May 30 at Penticton provincial courthouse. Judge Sinclair also imposed  a condition on Harfman to not be found west of White Lake Road, specifically Orophino Creek Road, until the hearing.