The B.C. SPCA is asking the public's help after 53 animals, including 36 miniature horses, were seized from a property in the B.C. interior on March 3.
The miniature horses were suffering from malnourishment, leg and hoof issues, eye problems, dental issues, were heavily matted with mud and suffered hair loss from lice. The horses ranged in age from one to 20-plus years old, and 20 of the horses were pregnant.
"With everything from the cost of feed and hay, vet costs and treatments, the cost of care will likely exceed $25,000 – definitely over $20,000," said Leiki Salumets, manager of equine and farm animal care for the BC SPCA. "The world is going through unprecedented times, but unfortunately animal cruelty has not stopped. If people are able to help, we urgently need ongoing financial support for these and other neglected and abused animals in our care."
The horses have been dewormed, vaccinated, deloused, groomed and had dental exams and farrier work done.
In addition to the miniature horses, the SPCA seized six cattle, five llamas, four goats and two emus from the property, after they received reports the animals were being neglected.
Salumets said the investigation is ongoing and criminal charges could be pending against the animals' former owner. Because of the investigation, she didn't comment on the location of the property except to say it was in the interior of the province.
The animals are currently being cared for at a foster home, and permanent homes for the emus and cattle have been found, she said. Permanent homes for the miniature horses still need to be found.
"We're also looking for folks who can foster farm animals," Salumets said. "We get files like this quite often. In the Prince George area we don't have a lot of foster homes."
Donations can be made to help support the SPCA's rescue efforts by going online to spca.bc.ca/emergencyalert. Anyone interested in fostering or adopting the animals can find more information online at spca.bc.ca/adopt.