Fifteen horses were killed in two separate incidents near Hargrave and Boissevain last week after they escaped from corrals and ran out onto busy highways.
On Feb. 21 at about 7:30 p.m., Virden RCMP responded to a report that 17 horses had bolted from a corral, and stated that six were killed by a passing train and four died after they were struck by semi-trailers on the Trans-Canada Highway, about 14 km west of Virden.
On Feb. 23, local RCMP were called after three out of a dozen horses that were running loose at around 6 a.m. were struck by three pickup trucks on Hwy. 10 just south of Boissevain. Two drivers were treated for injuries, and three horses were killed.
In both incidents, the owners were able to round up the surviving horses and bring them home.
One owner of the horses killed in the incident near Hargrave, who agreed to speak to theCo-operator on condition that her name not be published, said that the animals had slipped through a narrow gap in the corral gate just as her husband brought in a bale of hay with a tractor to feed them.
“For whatever reason, they got running and they ran between the tractor and the gate,” she said, adding that a total of 17 horses had run away. Five were thoroughbred- cross chuckwagon horses, four were saddle horses, and the rest were ponies, two miniature. She said that 12 head in total were lost.
“We’re devastated. They weren’t just animals; they were our pets, they were our family.”
Her husband jumped in a vehicle and tried to head them off before they reached the highway, but failed in the attempt. He watched in horror at the carnage that ensued.
After four of them were hit by three semi-trailers on the highway, some of the surviving horses panicked and ran onto the nearby train tracks. They took flight in a futile attempt to escape from the speeding train, and for whatever reason, stayed on the tracks and six were killed, she added.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s my worst nightmare times 12. Thank God there were no human injuries or deaths,” she said.
RCMP media spokesperson Line Karpish said that both matters are still under investigation and no charges have been laid.
She added that under the Highway Traffic Act, owners of animals that get loose and cause collisions may be fined, but whether penalties are levied or not depends on the circumstances.
daniel. [email protected]
“It’sheartbreaking.It’smyworst nightmaretimes12.ThankGodthere werenohumaninjuriesordeaths.”
– horse owner, near hargrave