Horses being monitored: OSPCA
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.
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.