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Princeton should have stood up against horse abuse: Local ranchers

Two Princeton women have a strong message for the community - don’t turn a blind eye to animal abuse.
BC Interior Horse Rescue president Joey Tompkins comforts a horse rescued from Princeton.

Two Princeton women have a strong message for the community - don’t turn a blind eye to animal abuse.

They are concerned people saw five starving horses on a ranch near Princeton but failed to do anything about it.

The horses were surrendered to a rescue organization in February, just days before the SPCA was notified of their condition.

Peaches - the most underweight horse - only weighed 500 pounds, less than half the weight she should. The other horses were also underweight, but not as bad.

“People need to question when they see an animal that looks mistreated. Simply go to the owner and ask what’s wrong,” said Maureen White.

Her friend Sue Gereau said a quick anonymous call to the SPCA can save a horse’s life.

White said she heard Princeton residents talking about the starving horses, but none of them took action.

“Princeton should have stood up to this kind of abuse. It’s disgusting - the horses could easily have died.”

When White heard of the malnourished horses she went to investigate, and decided to quickly call the SPCA.

“Someone must have passed by and saw them before I heard about them. How could they not do anything?” she said.

The SPCA is now investigating the owner, but haven’t decided whether to lay charges for animal neglect yet.

In a previous article in the Spotlight, Kathy Woodward, BC SPCA senior animal protection officer, said charging someone with animal neglect can often take years to go through the legal system.

“Some people are afraid to report animal abuse, so they just talk about it, but don’t take any action,” said Gereau.

“But you can’t just let an animal starve.”

The five horses are showing signs of improvement and will be adopted out in the coming months.

“Today we have received a donation of three round bales... Peaches was so happy to stretch her legs that she let loose and run with joy. I am happy to see the life in the Princeton horses’ eyes and them enjoying being horses,” said BC Interior Horse Rescue president Joey Tompkins on the society’s Facebook page.

A female horse from Princeton, who was previously thought to be Peaches’ daughter Cricket, was the last horse to rescued.

Tompkins gave her the nickname Hope, instead of her full name Girlz R Tuff.

The rescue society located in Kelowna has now reached its limit after taking in a seven-year-old horse named Melody earlier this month.

Ideally, 15 horses would live at the rescue, but more have shown up in the last two months.

Tompkins is now looking for homes for the horses that are ready to go.

Donations to the BC Interior Horse Rescue Society can be made by credit card or PayPal on the organization’s website.