16 horses seized by SPCA

Sixteen horses were seized and another 100 are being watched, after SPCA officials went onto a farm near Armstrong Thursday.

North Okanagan SPCA protection officer Kathy Woodward says her office issued a warrant on the property following a lengthy investigation.

She says officials noticed a dramatic decline in the health of many of the horses in the past several weeks, prompting the warrant.

When her team got on the property they found 16 of the horses were severely malnourished and near death.

“The horses were in distress, as defined in our Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, so they were taken into our care,” says Woodward. “The body condition score of the ones we took custody, ranged between 0.5 and 1.5 out of nine, with five being ideal, so they were in very poor condition.” For reference a 1.5 is considered emaciated.

One stallion and 15 mares and foals were taken from the property.

“It is very difficult for those attending, absolutely.”

Given the terrible condition of many of the rescued horses their future is still unclear.

“It is very guarded at this point so I did have the vet out again today and all we can do is hope for the best.”

The other 100 horses were left on the property and will be monitored by SPCA officials.

“We’ve issued orders for the care of those horses, and we will be returning to ensure compliance with the order,” says Woodward.

As to why the farm owner had so many horses, it is unclear, but Woodward says the number of horses alone would be a challenge for any owner.

“Just the sheer number would make it difficult to provide adequate care. I believe he is overwhelmed with the number of horses he has,” says Woodward. “I don’t know that he is a hoarder but he certainly has a large amount of horses.”

The SPCA is set to recommend charges against the man. 


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