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Okanagan rancher facing animal cruelty charges has bail conditions relaxed

The BCSPCA seized dozens of animals from a north Okanagan ranch at the end of March.
The BCSPCA seized dozens of animals from a north Okanagan ranch at the end of March. Megan Turcato / Global News

A north Okanagan woman and her daughter, who are facing animal cruelty charges, have had their bail conditions relaxed, allowing them to have custody of more dogs.

However, the rancher’s bid for the return of some of her horses has faltered.

READ MORE: Okanagan rancher facing animal cruelty charges fights for horses

Carla Christman and her adult daughter Chelsea Beluse-Christman are accused of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal, among other charges.

This week the court relaxed their bail conditions, allowing them to have custody of four of their dogs instead of just two.

The Christmans were charged after the BCSPCA removed dozens of animals, including over 40 horses, from their ranch on Irish Creek Road last March.

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WATCH: (March 25) BC SPCA executes search warrant on north Okanagan ranch

BC SPCA executes search warrant on north Okanagan ranch
BC SPCA executes search warrant on north Okanagan ranch

After the seizure, Christman turned to the BC Farm Industry Review Board, challenging the SPCA’s decision to keep the seized animals.

She claimed the seizure was unjust, arguing the animals were not in distress nor did she harm or neglect them.

Ultimately, the review board concluded all the animals were properly seized and only four dogs should be returned, because “the primary reason the dogs were taken into custody was in large part due to the disturbance they created at the time of seizure.”

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

Christman then took her fight for the return of her horses to civil court.

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In June, the court granted an order preventing the SPCA from adopting out 28 of her horses temporarily.

However, that order also required Christman to pay the BCSPCA $12,000 a month for the care of the animals.

That’s something the BCSPCA said she failed to do, allowing them to adopt out or euthanize the animals.

The society said it now only has two of Christman’s horses in its custody and that any animals already adopted would not be returned to Christman, regardless of the outcome of her civil case.

READ MORE: Vernon rancher under the microscope again

The sequence of events effectively ended her bid to have the vast majority of her horses returned.

The criminal case is back in court next Thursday.