Owner of starving horses near Princeton investigated by SPCA

A man who owned five severely underweight horses may be facing charges by the SPCA.

Peaches' daughter Cricket is the most recent underweight horse to be surrendered from an owner near Princeton.

Peaches' daughter Cricket is the most recent underweight horse to be surrendered from an owner near Princeton.

The SPCA is investigating a man living near Princeton who owned five severely underweight horses before surrendering them to a rescue organization.

The man could be facing charges, depending on whether the SPCA can prove he neglected the horses, said Kathy Woodward, BC SPCA senior animal protection officer.

The SPCA visited the property in November to photograph the horses.

“All of them were in adequate body condition at that time,” Woodward said.

All the horses had been rescued by the time she got the next complaint.

Woodward said it is important for the SPCA to do a thorough investigation because horses can sometimes drop weight suddenly for reasons other than neglect, such as if they get into something that makes them sick.

Charging someone with animal neglect can often take years to go through the legal system, she said.

The five horses are recovering at the BC Interior Horse Rescue Society in Kelowna, a process the organization’s president Joey Tompkins said will take months.

Four horses were rescued in mid-February, with another surrendered a week later.

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

“Babe, Jesse and Torrie are showing more weight gain. Peaches and Cricket still have a long way to go,” said Tompkins on the BC Interior Horse Rescue Facebook page.

The horses are eating well, and should start to put on weight soon.

“Peaches is starting to get the sparkle of life back. She is loving all this attention she is recieving as well as her extra yummy food.”

Torrie – the horse who is most untrusting of people – is beginning to come around.

“From what I have learnt she is quite stand-offish and will not let anyone get close to her. With that being said we had a volunteer Laura come over yesterday and Torrie walked right up to her and Laura was able to groom her,” Tompkins said.