A Calgary man gave CTV Calgary access to the sprawling 80-acre ranch where more than 40 animals and 20 long rifles were seized during a Police raid this week. Fred Brokop provided reporter Jordan Kanygin with a tour around the property he leases in southwest Calgary to show that conditions on the ranch are safe for animals.
On Tuesday, the Calgary Humane Society and police raided the grounds after a search warrant was issued under the Animal Protection Act.
The humane society and police allege that dozens of animals, including quails, dogs, cats and a gecko, were living in distress and unsafe conditions before they were taken during the raid. The organization said the seized animals are being treated by veterinarians while an animal cruelty investigation continues.
During the tour on Thursday, reporter Kanygin witnessed animals walking freely on the property, which is littered with old cars, trailers, tractors, and junk.
“It’s just a rural ranch,” Brokop said. “There’s vehicles, there’s tractors, there’s machinery, there’s wood, that’s what a ranch is.”
The 56-year-old ranch hand known as “Fritz” also showed Kanygin a “puppy pen” or small shed with sawdust on the floor where a litter of puppies were kept before the humane society took them.
“Does that look bad for puppies?” he asked. “To me, the puppies were dry, they were having fun, there was nothing really wrong with them, they had heat, they had food, but not to the humane society. That wasn’t acceptable.”
Brokop is at the centre of the police investigation in connection to a breach of a condition from a previous conviction where he pleaded guilty to two charges related to animal abuse.
“I didn’t think I was in breach of anything,” he said on Thursday. “I don’t own my animals. I didn’t care for them.”
Brokop claims that none of the animals seized during the raid belonged to him. There are eight other tenants living in three homes on the property who owned the animals, according to Brokop. Police said they believe there are more than 15 residents living on the property.
One tenant living on the property, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Brokop and told CTV Calgary he considers the ranch to be a positive place in the month he’s lived there.
“Healthy people live here that lead healthy lives (and) love animals,” the man said. “I am not a veterinarian but I would say that these animals were healthy and loved.”
Police, on the other hand, appeared to have a different opinion about the conditions on the ranch.
“In the 31 years that I have been a police officer, I’ve not seen such a disgusting and dirty environment to live as humans and also to raise animals,” Calgary Police Staff Sgt. Guy Baker said on Wednesday.
Along with the animals, police found 20 long rifles during the search. Brokop was arrested on one count of breaching a court order and 15 weapons-related charges. He said police broke open his door and arrested him even though he posed no threat.
“They came in and said, ‘You have improperly stored guns.’ I didn’t get a chance to store them. The ones I had a chance to were in my safes.”
After he was released from custody, Brokop returned to the ranch to discover that three homes on the ranch, including his own, were condemned. He said he’s now living in a camping trailer on the property.
Brokop said he has hired a lawyer and plans to fight the charges. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 14, 2019 in relation to the charges of a court breach and weapons offences.
The humane society is still investigating and has six months to determine whether they will lay any charges against Brokop.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Jordan Kanygin
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