Six thoroughbred horses have been seized from a Mission property as part of an animal-cruelty investigation by the BC SPCA.
They were suffering from malnutrition, dental issues, parasites, skin issues and hoof injuries, said Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior officer, protection and stakeholder relations.
“In addition to suffering from nutritional and medical issues, the horses were living in substandard conditions, with inadequate shelter, muddy and slippery surfaces and injurious hazards strewn on the property,” Drever said. “There was also inadequate fencing on the property, permitting the horses access to a busy road.”
At the beginning of November, the BC SPCA’s call centre received a tip about horses looking underweight at the address and were “shocked to see the condition the horses were in” when they investigated, Drever said.
She said the property was not a commercial farm, and appeared to be a hobby farm with no other livestock present.
When the SPCA finds an animal in distress, they give the owner or caregiver an opportunity to fix it, Drever said.
“If they fail to do so then we have to take legal action … And that’s what happened in this case.”
The horses, now in SPCA care, are receiving veterinary treatment and other care at a foster facility while they recover, the BC SPCA said, and the investigation is ongoing.
“They are such beautiful animals and it is so sad to think of them suffering as they were,” says Drever. “We are so happy that they are now safe and getting the care and treatment they need.”
The BC SPCA carries out over 8,000 animal-cruelty investigations annually.
Owners can appeal to the BC Farm Industry Review Board to get their animals back, which is similar to a “mini trial,” Drever said.
The BC SPCA can also recommend charges to Crown Counsel, which could result in a fine, or a prohibition from owning animals, Drever said.