The Langley hobby farmer who adopted a herd of goats from the now-closed Stanley Park petting zoo and then almost immediately sold them at auction has apologized and offered a settlement.
Trevor French was being sued for $12,000 by the Vancouver Park Board for wrongly disposing of 16 pet goats and four sheep after The Vancouver Sun reported in February that he’d sold them within weeks of their being transferred to his home when the zoo closed in early 2011.
On Tuesday night the park board said it had accepted an out-of-court settlement from French that included an “unequivocal apology” and a $1,000 donation to the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Park Board communications manager Joyce Courtney said French agreed to make his apology and donation to the SPCA public and the park board now “considers the matter closed.”
In the lawsuit the park board filed in March, it valued the missing animals at $2,000. It also sued French for $10,000 in punitive damages, saying it had become clear he had deliberately sought to acquire the goats from the now-closed Stanley Park Children’s Farm Yard with the express purpose of making a financial profit.
The city claimed in court documents that French’s conduct “was calculated, harsh, reprehensible and malicious” in breaching an adoption agreement he signed on Jan. 31, 2011, promising to look after the 17 goats and four sheep for the rest of their natural lives.
Ultimately the city recovered one 12-year-old Nigerian dwarf goat, Tryka, which it then gave to another adoptee who had received several other zoo animals.
French at first denied selling the goats, and told several media outlets that he gave them away to friends and neighbours because they were “nasty” and “violent.”
But the owner of Fraser Valley Auctions confirmed from auction records that 16 of the animals had been shipped through his yard, and that they had almost certainly been sold for meat. The records show French received between $170 and $107.50 for each of the animals.
There was a chance some of the female goats might have survived as breeding does, but the auction company owner couldn’t find the buyer.
- Jeff Lee is a reporter with The Vancouver Sun