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Armstrong horses find new homes

Roughly 80 of Gary Roberts' horses were sold at an auction Saturday, Feb. 7.
February 10, 2015 - 3:22 PM


ARMSTRONG - There was standing room only at an auction Saturday afternoon that saw approximately 80 horses involved in a cruelty investigation find new homes.

People from across Western Canada attended the event, and not one horse went to a meat buyer says Marie van der Wilk, with Valley Auction.

“Every last one of them went to a good home,” van der Wilk says.

Vehicles were parked all the way down Raffan Road, past the Tolko mill off Highway 97 A. Van der Wilk says the attendance was overwhelming.

The court ordered dispersal sale for owner Gary Roberts, charged with two counts of animal cruelty, lasted just over three hours. The highest paid price was $2,600 and the lowest went for $350. Altogether, the auction made $81,570. 

“Nobody expected them to sell that high,” van der Wilk says. “They’re well bred, really nice, affectionate horses.”

When the sale ended, horses were transported to homes across B.C. and Alberta. Van der Wilk says it was encouraging to see people with extra room in their trailers offer to move horses home for others.

“Everybody was working together,” she says. “I knew it would be good. I knew from all the positive comments on Facebook that people would bring that positive energy.”

There were even standing ovations during the auction, she says.

The roughly 80 horses sold were part of a larger herd of 100. Roberts has been court ordered to disperse of them all by Feb. 17. Several horses remain at Valley Auction. 

Sixteen of Roberts’ horses—the ones described as being in the worst health—were seized by the SPCA in Dec. 2013. Three of them died.

Roberts is charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and one count of failing to provide necessities for an animal. He also faces one count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

Read related articles on the Armstrong horses here. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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