It’s the Year of the Horse according to the Chinese Zodiac, and the BC SPCA is hoping 2014 will bring better news for British Columbia’s horses.
Since late October, BC SPCA cruelty investigators have removed 49 horses from distress at properties throughout the province. Many of the horses seized were badly neglected and/or starving; some were shockingly malnourished.
“Primarily, the horses removed have been generated by five investigations,” says Shawn Eccles, BC SPCA manager, cruelty investigations.
10 horses in the Grand Forks area
13 horses in the Vernon area
Seven horses in the Williams Lake area
Three horses in the Chilliwack area
12 horses in the Lower Nicola area
The BC SPCA commonly uses body condition scoring (BCS) to assess the amount of fat on an animal’s body. For horses and other equines, a scale of one (emaciated) to nine (obese) can help investigators determine the horse’s condition. Access to adequate shelter is also important, Eccles says.
The cruelty investigations and any potential recommendation of charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and/or the Criminal Code of Canada are ongoing, but several horses have been rehabilitated and re-homed; seven are available for adoption in Kamloops alone – visit spca.bc.ca/kamloops to view them.
BC SPCA senior animal protection officer Kent Kokoska encourages potential and current horse owners to look at the new Code of Practice for horses and to ensure they are prepared for every instance.
“If you’re going to own a horse, have a plan. This includes anticipating emergencies, as well as ensuring that you have the resources to address everyday needs, such as nutrition, health management and housing,” Kokoska notes. “The average cost of rehabilitating a horse that has suffered chronic starvation ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 per horse, including feed, board and veterinary care.”
As a non-profit organization, the BC SPCA is grateful for the generous support from British Columbia’s communities and welcomes donations to help with ongoing veterinary and rehabilitation costs for seized and surrendered animals. Visit your local branch or donate online.
Anyone concerned about animals who appear to be in distress can call the BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722. The SPCA investigates more than 7,500 potential animal cruelty cases and cares for nearly 29,000 abused, neglected, injured and homeless animals each year at 37 locations throughout British Columbia.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.