November 27, 2013 - 11:45 AM
THREE EUTHANIZED, FOUR IN CRITICAL CARE
KAMLOOPS – Four horse owners are under investigation for animal cruelty after 14 horses had to be seized due to starvation and neglect over the last month.
Senior Animal Protection Officer Kent Kokoska says the horses came from four different locations north, west and south of Kamloops, and all within two hours of the city. Three have had to be euthanized, four are in critical care at the Kamloops Large Animal Vet Clinic and seven are under vet monitoring. The horses all faced different levels of neglect – from hoof and dental care to lack of food and parasites.
“There were varying circumstances around neglect,” he says. “Some lost hundreds of pounds of weight.”
One of the horses that had to be euthanized had lost so much weight two people were able to pick it up to move it. This amount of weight loss is a big concern to both cruelty investigators and the vets now tasked with helping the equines get healthy again.
“Our concern in these situations is we felt we should have been notified earlier,” Kokoska says. “Someone had to have seen something sooner. We want early intervention no critical intervention.”
Some years see no cases of equine neglect, but other years have seen as many as 60 cases and Kokoska says they are concerned because of the freeze and thaw we've already had and what that will do to animals left to try digging through ice to access their feed.
In the Kamloops area, which runs north to Quesnel, west to Bella Coola, east to Chase and south to Lytton, about 60 per cent of investigations are livestock related. Investigations can take a couple days to months before a decision is made as to whether charges will be placed.
Kokoska says they try to work with the owner to educate about and fix the cause of neglect where possible. If they are unable to relieve the stresses identified then an order may be issued and finally a warrant may be sought to investigate the premises. At this point an animal can be seized if it is found to be neglected.
Just last week the B.C. SPCA held a series of workshops with Dr. Bettina Bobsien covering the new requirements for horse care in Canada. The workshop was the best attended one in Kamloops to date and covered the process behind the Equine Code, nutrition, health management, breeding, housing, humane training and the SPCA approach to preventing and addressing horse abuse and neglect. The same seminar was also held in Prince George, Chilliwack and Nanaimo.
Charges have yet to by recommended by Kokoska and his crew.
To contact a reporter for this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013