MEDIA RELEASE: Measure of Justice for Rabbits Cruelly Neglected by Bay Area "Rescuer"
SAN JOSE, Calif. (August 8, 2022) — In Defense of Animals is applauding a measure of justice following the sentencing of South Bay Rabbit Rescue’s founder, who was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after more than 100 rabbits were found suffering in her care.
On June 6, 2021, Brenda Andringa, founder of South Bay Rabbit Rescue in Morgan Hill, was arrested on three counts of cruelty to animals and three counts of failing to give proper care to the 112 rabbits who were seized from her rescue.
Volunteers at the rescue had been vocal about their concerns for the rabbits, and nearby residents had reported their concerns about the lack of care the rabbits were receiving. Hare-cules, a rabbit, suffered for days before he died with maggots eating at his flesh.
On May 10, 2021, Santa Clara County Animal Control opened an investigation into the complaints and discovered that the rabbits entrusted to Andringa suffered in crowded, filthy cages and suffered heat distress in 90-degree temperatures; several rabbits were near death. The facility was equipped with fans, but they were not turned on, and the rabbits were removed for care.
In Defense of Animals sent District Attorney Jeffrey F. Rosen and Deputy District Attorney Katherine Carey a letter with more than 12,700 signatures asking that Andringa be charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty for her extreme neglect of the rabbits and to order her not to keep or work with animals in the future.
On August 5, 2022, Andringa was sentenced to a diversion program. For two years, she can only have her two cats and three dogs. All other animals must be rehomed or seized in 30 days, and she will be subjected to unannounced visits from animal control for two years, which will be able to search anywhere on her property. She will also need to attend animal cruelty classes and mental health counseling. Her 501(c)(3) has to be closed, and she’s never allowed to start another one. She will also have to write a letter of apology. If any of these conditions are not met, she will have to appear back in court.
“It’s a disgrace when a purported rescuer fails the animals they are entrusted with. Brenda Andringa inexcusably mistreated the rabbits she took in and violated the trust of the people who believed that she would give them the best of care. ,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals campaign director. “Previous issues with her involvement with animals should have helped prevent this cruelty, and charges should have reflected the severity of the suffering she caused.”
In 2020 Morgan Hill Police investigated Andringa for housing too many rabbits at her home in violation of the city ordinance. Andringa relocated the rabbits, and her charge was dismissed. Andringa has also been listed on the county animal control's “no adopt” list since 2017.
California Penal Code 597 states that anyone who maliciously and intentionally mains, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment or by a fine of no greater than $20,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.
Contact: Doll Stanley, Doll@idausa.org, (662) 809-4483
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of defending animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/justice4animals
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