The BC SPCA has seized five badly emaciated horses from a rural property in Chilliwack, including a pregnant mare whose foal may not survive.
The animals were severely undernourished and suffering from various medical problems when officers found them earlier this month, but animal protection officer Eileen Drever said the mother-to-be’s condition was the most distressing.
“She’s currently receiving specialized care,” Drever said. “We’re not sure if her foal will live and we’re not sure if she’ll have enough antibodies in her milk to give the foal.”
Officers said the property also lacked adequate shelter for the horses. The SPCA will be recommending cruelty charges against their owner once its investigation is complete, Drever said.
In the meantime, the organization is calling on the public to help care for the horses, either by adopting them or making donations to pay for their treatment.
“I’m begging at this point,” Drever said. “The mare alone is costing the SPCA $30 per day.”
More than 80 neglected or abused horses have come into the SPCA’s care over the past five months. Drever said complaints involving horses are on the rise, a problem she blamed more on ignorance than outright cruelty.
“I truly believe that people don’t realize what they’re taking on when they buy a horse. They may have the acreage but that’s not enough,” she said.
New horse owner may not realize the animals can’t feed on grass during winter, Drever said, when the food source is completely devoid of nutrients.
The latest horses seized “clearly haven’t been fed sufficiently over the winter months,” she added.
The SPCA said horses are also fairly cheap to purchase right now, and can be found for as little as $70 to $100 at auction.
Anyone who wishes to adopt one of the horses can call the SPCA cruelty investigations office in Surrey at 604-575-2249. Donations can also be made on the SPCA website.