42 neglected horses seized

A month after concerns were raised over horses being neglected at a North Okanagan property, the BC SPCA has stepped in and removed the animals.

SPCA senior officer Eileen Drever confirms 50 animals were seized Monday from the Irish Creek Road property, north of Vernon.

Officers are still in the process of removing the animals. 

The property has been involved in controversy over the care of their horses in the past.

Animal abuse at the location dates back to 2009, when Carla Christman was arrested and more than 70 animals were seized.

“We are begging and pleading for the police and the SPCA to step in and do something before it’s too late,” said animal activist Amy Soranno.

BC SPCA constables seized 28 thin and emaciated horses with untreated injuries on Christman’s property in December 2009. Investigators also discovered dozens of dogs and four cats inside an unventilated area that was so thick with the stench of ammonia and feces that officers gagged upon entry.

"When our officers arrived on the scene, the horses were in a state of great distress, suffering from unacceptably thin body condition, internal parasites, multiple wounds, untreated lameness and overgrown hooves," said cruelty investigator Marcie Moriarty.

Forty-two horses, four dogs and four hogs were removed from the property on Monday.

“All the animals met the definition of being in distress, pursuant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” said Drever.

The animals have been moved to an undisclosed location and are being examined by veterinarians.

"SPCA constables met with the owner of the animals earlier this month and issued a number of orders for changes that were required to relieve the distress of the animals,” said Drever.

“We have monitored the situation and requested daily documentation that the orders were being met. Unfortunately, we were not satisfied that the owner had made the necessary changes and sought a warrant to remove the animals.”

Castanet obtained drone footage from the farm when animal activists voiced concerns back in February.

"The issues of concern related to inadequate food, water and shelter," said Drever.

The home on the property was destroyed by a fire on March 15, but no animals were hurt in the blaze.

Correction: BC SPCA stated 46 horse were seized, but corrected this number to 42.

Alanna Kelly

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