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Historic sentencing for dairy workers accused of animal abuse

Last Updated May 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm PDT

A Chilliwack Cattle Company worker is shown hitting a cow in this undated screenshot handout taken from video. A company that owns a dairy farm in British Columbia's Fraser Valley and one of its directors have pleaded guilty in a cattle abuse case that was the first of its kind in the province. Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. pleaded guilty to three counts of causing an animal to continue to be in distress, while Wesley Kooyman pleaded guilty to one count. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Mercy for Animals *MANDATORY HANDOUT*
Summary

Three people sentenced to time behind bars following animal abuse investigation at Chilliwack farm

Four other workers waiting for their court date

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) – Three men who pleaded guilty to maliciously abusing cows at the Chilliwack Cattle Sales have been sentenced to jail time.

Travis Keefer will serve a week behind bars and can’t care for or own animals for one year.

Jamie Visser and Chris Vandyke were each sentenced to 60 days in jail and are banned from owning animals for three years. The sentences will be served intermittedly.

The historic ruling comes after a 2014 undercover investigation by the animal protection organization, Mercy For Animals (MFA), videotaped workers kicking cows, pulling their utters and tails, and beating them with canes.

Visser, Vandyke and Keefer all pleaded guilty to violating the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

“Not only does this set a precedent in law but this sends the clearest message to the factory farming industry that animal abuse in this country will not be tolerated,” MFA vice president Krista Hiddema says. “The sentencing today was absolutely outstanding and really provided justice for these animals.”

Twenty charges were originally laid against the company and seven of its employees.

Company President Kenneth Kooyman pleaded guilty to three charges of animal cruelty and paid fines while his brother Wesley pleaded guilty to one charge.

In total fines were nearly $300,000.

There are still four other workers who have scheduled court dates in connection to this case.