UPDATE: Bay Area Rabbit “Rescuer” Held Accountable for Cruelty
Earlier this month we celebrated a measure of justice handed down in the case of a San Francisco Bay Area rabbit “rescuer,” who had been charged with animal cruelty after more than 100 rabbits were found suffering in her care.
Last year, volunteers at South Bay Rabbit Rescue in Morgan Hill, California got vocal about their concerns for the rabbits, and nearby residents had reported the lack of care rabbits were receiving. Hare-cules, one of the rabbits, 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 the organization’s founder Brenda Andringa suffered in crowded, filthy cages and experienced heat distress in 90-degree temperatures; several rabbits were near death. The facility was equipped with fans, but they were not turned on, and 112 rabbits were removed for care.
On June 6, 2021, Andringa was arrested on three counts of cruelty to animals and three counts of failing to give proper care to the rabbits.
More than 12,700 In Defense of Animals’ supporters signed onto our letter, which was sent to the district attorney urging felony aggravated animal cruelty charges and an order to ban her from working with animals in the future.
This month, Andringa was finally sentenced, but only to a diversion program, no jail time was given. However, the results weren’t all bad. 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.
Tragically, this all comes too late for the rabbits who suffered and died in her care, but we’re grateful to everyone who helped put the pressure on the court system and we’re relieved that she’ll never be able to harm rabbits like this again.
To find out more about how to help animal victims of cruelty, visit our Justice for Animals campaign.
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