The horses seized from a Princeton area farm this fall suffered cruelly, according to Leiki Salumets, manager of BC SPCA equine and farm animal care.
While the recovered animals were recently put up for adoption, five had to be euthanized.
“It obviously not a decision we make lightly,” said Salumets. “We look for quality of life and for conditions that cannot be reversed.”
In total, 97 animals housed at a farm on Old Hedley Road were seized Sept. 22. In addition to the horses, 46 puppies, 21 adult dogs and three cats were rescued. At least eight of the puppies died days later.
The SPCA continues to investigate the case, and charges have not yet been laid.
According to Salumets, caring for the horses was “challenging and very emotionally demanding.”
A variety of horses were taken into care, including Appaloosas, Paints, Arabians and Quarter horses.
One had a broken shoulder blade. Another was crippled from denigration of the spine. “She was so weak and didn’t have much awareness of where her hind legs were,” said Salumets.
There was a pregnant mare, and one with a foal.
All were malnourished, and many had eye and dental diseases.
Caring for the animals cost approximately $70,000 and involved the help of dozens of volunteers.
“Over the course of the past couple of months we have seen their individual personalities start to shine through as they put on weight and regain strength. Relieving pain and discomfort through veterinarian, farrier and a high standard of consistent daily care and diligent monitoring, the horses have become more comfortable, relaxed, and with more energy, also more playful. They have built trust with their caregivers and greet them every day with happy nickers, enjoying all the TLC they are getting,” Salumets said.
So far there has been only limited interest in adopting the horses, added Salumets.
Adoptions, which require between $250 and $750 in fees, can be tricky to arrange, she noted. It’s important to place an animal in a forever home, with the assurance it won’t be bounced from place to place.
Also, each horse has individual needs and abilities. While some of the older animals are definitely companion horses, others could be suited to trail riding and dressage and even jumping.
“We don’t know their history, so we don’t necessarily get a clear picture of what they are capable of.”
Anyone interested in adoption is encouraged to apply at https://spca.bc.ca/adoption/princeton97-horses/.
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