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RM wants answers over horse seizure

The RM of Lakeview is seeking answers from the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian regarding the recent seizure of 10 horses from a local property owner.

The council unanimously approved a motion brought forward by a delegation at its regular meeting last week that raised a number of concerns about the seizure, ranging from allegations of mistreatment during the roundup, to charges that some of the horses were missing, or had been substituted with animals not from the original herd when they were sold at auction.

Richard Callander, a councillor from the RM of Lakeview, who bought six of the horses in order to match them with new owners, described the behaviour of animal welfare officers and the person they hired to round up the herd as “hooliganism.”

“Somebody has to be accountable,” said Callander.

The delegation, which included Rhonda Arnason, the daughter of the elderly couple from whom the horses were seized on the grounds of failing to provide adequate care, and her husband Norman, the property owner, as well as a letter from local resident Kim Hiebert.

In her letter, Hiebert charged that the horses had been “chased hard” with snowmobiles and one colt had been “bumped” with a pickup. She also alleged two mares, two studs and one colt “disappeared” sometime between the roundup on Jan. 8 and the official seizure on Jan. 14, and that horses not included on the seizure order were sent to the auction in Gladstone.

“Some of the studs I knew did not show up as well at the auction. They were there to buy them. They knew the horses they wanted to buy,” wrote Hiebert.

Karen Brown, owner of Bluff Creek Miniatures in Silver Ridge, had hoped to secure one of the horses for her daughter.

She was outraged over the “beyond appalling” condition of the horses at the auction despite being in the care of the province for almost a month.

“He was condescending, and just downright rude,” said Brown.

Reeve Philip Thordarson said the letter to be submitted to the chief provincial veterinarian expresses the council’s concern that the process for seizing animals on the grounds of animal welfare was not followed correctly.

“People and animals were not treated the way they were supposed to be and there seems to be no recourse,” said Thordarson.

“It needs to be dealt with. We expect that animal control is going to care about the welfare of the animals.”

A provincial spokesperson said the council’s letter will be reviewed by provincial officials.

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