Horses be­ing mon­i­tored: OS­PCA

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - JA­COB ROBIN­SON

The On­tario Society for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals says it has un­der con­trol a much­pub­li­cized horse wel­fare sit­u­a­tion near Water­ford.

The agency re­sponded via Facebook video Mon­day to complaints that two horses on a hobby farm at the corner of Cock­shutt Road and Thomp­son Road are in dire need of sav­ing.

A third horse was eu­th­a­nized Satur­day and buried in front of pro­test­ers on Sun­day. The On­tario Min­istry of Agriculture Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs ruled the horse was to be ex­humed on Tues­day due to pub­lic safety.

The re­main­ing horses are be­ing mon­i­tored closely, said OS­PCA agent Rachel Van den kro on en berg in the video.

“We want to re­as­sure you that we are ac­tively work­ing with the Nor­folk OPP on this sit­u­a­tion and have been for some time now,” she says on­line. “We un­der­stand you are con­cerned and up­set by this sit­u­a­tion.”

Van den kro on en berg said the OS­PCA has at­tended the prop­erty in re­sponse to each com­plaint it has re­ceived over the last year.

“When we fol­low up, we make sure the an­i­mals are re­ceiv­ing food, water, have ap­pro­pri­ate shel­ter and if there are any health con­cerns that those con­cerns are be­ing ad­dressed ,” Van den kro on en berg adds. “We do not close an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til we know the stan­dards of care are be­ing met.”

Van den kro one nb ergs ai­dan of­fi­cer at­tended the farm in Novem­ber and iden­ti­fied the horse that was even­tu­ally eu­th­a­nized as ill as a re­sult of a pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion and was un­der vet­eri­nar­ian care.

“When a vet­eri­nar­ian is in­volved, we do not have the authority to in­ter­vene,” she con­tin­ued.

“With the win­ter months ap­proach­ing, a dis­cus­sion was had re­gard­ing the most hu­mane op­tion for the ill horse.”

An­other horse on the prop­erty was noted to be “in poor body con­di­tion” and the OS­PCA is work­ing with the owner to en­sure the an­i­mal is be­ing prop­erly cared for.

“Un­der the law, the OS­PCA can only re­move an an­i­mal if it is in im­me­di­ate dis­tress as de­fined by pro­vin­cial an­i­mal wel­fare leg­is­la­tion, or­dered un­der a cer­tifi­cate of a vet­eri­nar­ian, or if the owner has not com­plied with or­ders is­sued un­der pro­vin­cial an­i­mal wel­fare leg­is­la­tion ,” Van den kro on en berg said.

“In this sit­u­a­tion, nei­ther the OS­PCA nor the Nor­folk OPP have the authority to re­move th­ese an­i­mals.” The sit­u­a­tion has put fur­ther heat on the deal­ings of the OS­PCA. The or­ga­ni­za­tion said last month that due to fund­ing is­sues, it may have to nar­row its fo­cus to smaller an­i­mals and pass re­spon­si­bil­ity of live­stock to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

Prior to this week­end, Brenda Thomp­son of Whis­per­ing Hearts Horse Res­cue in Hagersville cre­ated a pe­ti­tion seek­ing a foren­sic au­dit of how the OS­PCA is spend­ing its money. It also calls for a new an­i­mal pro­tec­tion agency in the prov­ince.

Thomp­son sent a re­lease out Tues­day stat­ing: “The OS­PCA al­ready pro­vides lo­cal ser­vice in only about half the prov­ince and they have made them­selves un­ac­count­able to any­one but them­selves by elim­i­nat­ing board elec­tions and an­nual gen­eral meet­ings. It is out­ra­geous that an or­ga­ni­za­tion that has be­come so in­ef­fec­tive and un­ac­count­able con­tin­ues to re­ceive pub­lic money and donor dol­lars while fail­ing to do the im­por­tant job they were cre­ated to do: pro­tect­ing all an­i­mals in the prov­ince of On­tario.”

Things in Water­ford es­ca­lated this past week­end when photos of sickly and mal­nour­ished look­ing horses on the prop­erty were posted on so­cial me­dia by neigh­bour­ing horse owner Natalie Tup­per.

Tup­per said she has seen the horses de­te­ri­o­rate in re­cent months and hoped the photos would has­ten a re­sponse from the au­thor­i­ties.

A num­ber of pro­test­ers have gath­ered out­side the farm since Tup­per called for ac­tion.

“It is my un­der­stand­ing the au­thor­i­ties will be at­tend­ing to­day to ex­hume the body of (the de­ceased horse) to­day,” Tup­per posted on her Facebook page Tues­day morn­ing. “Please keep in mind re­gard­less of ev­ery­thing else go­ing on this will be an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult process for the own­ers to en­dure. I would wish that on no one. My heart per­son­ally goes out to them on this mat­ter. Please let’s all be re­spect­ful and al­low them to work through this peace­fully.” The own­ers have not re­sponded to re­quests for com­ment.

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/SIMCOE RE­FORMER

A throng of pro­test­ers set­tled near a hobby farm at the corner of Cock­shutt Road and Thomp­son Road East near Water­ford on Mon­day. Peo­ple be­gan to gather near the prop­erty to bring aware­ness to a trio of horses they say were be­ing mis­treated. One of the horses was eu­th­a­nized on the week­end.

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