Feral horses made their way onto Highway 97 in Penticton on Jan. 31 and they may have got there through cuts made to the horse fences in the area.
The Penticton Indian Band and RCMP have launched an investigation into what may be deliberately cut horse fencing that was designed to keep the animals off the highway.
Many calls came into both the Penticton Indian Band and AIM Roads about the horses on the busy highway heading south into Kaleden.
The Penticton Indian Band Guardian Program went out, trying to bring the wild horses from the side of Highway 97 to the fence, cutting a hole in the fence and placing hay on the other side.
“We got a call about horses out near Riva Ridge and yes they were just south on Highway 97. We cut the fence to allow them to hopefully find their way in,” said the PIB Guardian Program members on its Facebook page. “We couldn’t herd them around as there was a lot of traffic on the highway.”
AIM Roads put out signage warning motorists about the roaming horses.
“We placed some hay on the other side of the fence to coax them back in. Speaking with AIM, their night shift will monitor this location and put up a snow fence if the horses go back inside and we will then repair the fence properly. The horse situation is being closely monitored,” said PIB on Monday night.
PIB First Nations RCMP is investigating what appears to be at least four to five different parts of the horse fence line deliberately cut in the old game farm area which is on PIB land.
The first report of the fence being cut was received over a week ago and was thought to be a situation where a small horse may have become entangled in the fence, said the PIB.
“Since then we have received four separate reports of the fence being cut at different locations on the fenceline of the former game farm,” said PIB in a statement.
“These irresponsible and senseless acts once again puts the public safety at risk as well as the horses themselves. Anyone caught on these PIB lands deliberately carrying out these irresponsible acts will be charged accordingly,” said PIB in a statement.
The PIB issued a news release on Jan. 7 to reiterate that the free-roaming horses belong to individual members of the band, not the band as an organization.
“We recognize that the issue of free-roaming feral horses has been a contentious and frustrating topic for many years and recognize that the horses not only cause damage to properties but create a serious safety threat along the roadways and highways,” reads the release.
Anyone who may have witnessed or may have information on the individual(s) responsible for the fence cutting is asked to please contact PIB Chief Administrative Officer at 250-493-0048.
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