Volunteers Dig Half Mile Long Path: Horses Rescued
Published: February 18, 2009 | 7381st good news item since 2003
In December 2008 snowmobiler Logan Jack in British Columbia, Canada, happened upon two abandoned horses; the 3 year old mare Belle and the 14 year old gelding Sundance.
His sister Toni was able to confirm the horses were in dire need of help.
The horses ranked a 2 on the Henneke body condition scale, and suffered from frostbite and lice.
Once notified the SPCA launched a rescue mission, one made exceedingly difficult by the horses being snowed in in such a remote location.
Spearheaded by Dave Jeck a core group of about 10 volunteers came forward to dig a 1 kilometer (ca. half a mile) long path through 2 meter (six foot) deep snow.
“The residents and members of the snowmobile club of McBride have been amazing.
The horses have life in them. They’re sure happy to see us.
They’re spunky, they’re thin, but they’re eating and drinking.”
— Lana Jeck
The community of McBride rallied around the rescuers.
The gas station collected coupons to cover the fuel expenses; a sled shop accepted donations.
After almost a week of digging with temperatures plunging as far down as -30C (-22F) the volunteers finally reached the horses.
“They are definitely hundreds of pounds underweight, but they are in stable condition at this point.
One of the horses had rain scald or frostbite on it. The other one had most of its tail missing, probably due to lice.
They’re definitely in a sad-looking state, but we feel comfortable that now they are in the type of recuperation facility that they need. So it does feel really good all around.”
— Kent Kokoska, senior animal protection officer, SPCA, British Columbia
The rescue became national Canadian news.
This week the SPCA has denied the owner’s request to have the horses returned.
“We are recommending charges of animal cruelty against the owner of the horses under both the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
The animals are receiving excellent on-going care in their foster homes and a number of people have offered to provide a permanent home for them.”
— Shawn Eccles, chief animal protection officer, SPCA, British Columbia
The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, which applies only in British Columbia, and the Criminal Code of Canada both carry a maximum fine of $5000, up to six months in jail and a possible prohibition on owning animals.