The Alberta SPCA welcomed over 600 animals this winter; 10 horses found dead

The Alberta SPCA took in 675 animals this winter, the majority due to food shortage issues. More than 100 animals were found dead, including 10 horses recently.

Twenty cattle were seized in February by the Alberta SPCA from a property west of Edmonton. The malnourished animals were taken to a care property.

“The past few years have been difficult for everyone,” said Dan Kobe, director of communications at the Alberta SPCA.

“Unfortunately, not feeding your pet is not acceptable, even if you have difficulty finding food or cannot afford it. If this is a situation an animal owner finds himself in, then he needs to do a herd assessment and reduce the number of animals he has so that he has enough food for him.

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Kobe said seven horses were abandoned northeast of Edmonton in February by owners who didn’t have enough food. They are now cared for by two rescue groups.

Alberta SPCA rescues horses near Edmonton in December 2021.


Alberta SPCA


Ten horses were found dead last month at a property near Bonnyville.

Last week, the owner was charged with putting animals in distress, failing to provide enough food or water and failing to provide adequate care to an injured or sick animal.

“It’s a shame that a number of the animals that we’re going to see don’t survive,” Kobe said.

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Kobe said it will be until mid-May before livestock owners can rely on pasture for food.

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“We encourage everyone to do a quick check in with their animals, do the math and count the number of animals. Work out how many bales of hay you need, and if you don’t have enough to get to mid-May, you either have to go get some hay and pay the cost, or reduce the number of animals you need. you have the charge,” Kobe said.


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“Many producers have slaughtered some of their breeding cows. They just couldn’t afford to keep them all,” Jason Hale said.

The vice-president of Alberta Beef Producers also operates a ranch with his family near Bassano. He said recovery from this dire situation will depend on how much precipitation Alberta receives this spring and summer.

“I know that here you count to see how many balls you have left and how long you can last. When you run out of hay, I don’t think you’ll be able to find any,” Hale said.

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The horses at the Free Spirit Sanctuary northwest of Cochrane are getting a second chance at life.

Owner Sandie Hucal cares for 17 horses who probably wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t accepted them.

But with the price of hay rising dramatically, Hucal made the difficult decision not to accept any more rescues.

Hay is hard to find in Alberta in March 2022.


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“We just can’t afford to absorb any more. We are pretty close to full.

“We just wouldn’t be able to afford the extra expenses with the cost of hay now. Unfortunately the drought has had a negative impact on the horses as they are expensive animals to maintain and when the hay goes that high many of them are sent to auction,” said Hucal.

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Kobe said there have been far more cattle turned over and seized than horses this winter.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had that many horses in our care this year,” Kobe said.

“We’re lucky that way because it can be difficult to find enough people willing to take on horses, especially if the horses are in high need and haven’t been handled.”

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