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SPCA seizes horses near Grand Forks

A rancher says he is upset and shocked after the SPCA seized 10 horses from his property located within the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary outside of Grand Forks on Saturday.

Kevin LaFond said some of the horses were already being cared for by veterinarians, and that the organization was aware of this.

"Most of the horses in question, we were looking after with the supervision of local vets," he said. "The SPCA knew they were here and have seen them right from day one."

According to Shawn Eccles with the SPCA, the horses seized were all below body condition score of two, which would mean they were emaciated.

"Emaciated to thin and just no access to shelter and that was the real concern," he said.

Eccles added they don't know for sure how many animals were there initially. It looks like some of the animals were moved, and they are continuing to investigate.

The property in question is a ranch surrounded by other properties where farm animals roam, and other homes on Almond Gardens Road.

For several years, the location has been used to retrain and rehabilitate horses that LaFond purchases.

He claims he then sells them to good homes.

The animals  dealt with on the weekend included three that do not belong to him, two that were recently purchased, three already under veterinarian care and two that were very questionable.

Two of the 10 were euthanized.

One Grand Forks resident, who declined to be named, said he sees horses come one day and then disappear the next.

He has also seen as many as 12 horses out there with one bale of water damaged and rotten hay.

"He has horses, pigs, cows, sheep and he doesn't care for them properly," the man said. "His treatment of the animals is questionable, and I think he is mainly selling them to a meat factory."

LaFond denies that is his sole intention, saying he tries to keep the horses as long as possible to find them good homes.

He did admit, however, there are some instances where horses should be slaughtered.

"Horses that go over backwards on people, that all of a sudden bust into a buck," he said. "I deem those as dangerous horses, and I wouldn't want anyone to be hurt or killed by them."

LaFond would only  provide a limited amount of information on what happened on the weekend, saying he needed to consult his lawyer.

Sgt. Harrison from the Grand Forks RCMP said "the RCMP were on hand to keep the peace only. The investigation is now in the hands of the SPCA."




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