The Ontario SPCA would like to thank anyone who has expressed their support for the horses involved in the investigation in Norfolk County. 

We want to reassure the public that we are actively working with the Norfolk OPP on this situation and have been for some time now. We understand that members of the public are concerned and upset by this situation.

There has been a great deal of speculation on what has happened and what is happening for these horses. What is posted on social media does not share the whole story and we’d like to provide both clarification on the scope of our authority and our involvement in the last year. 

The Ontario SPCA has attended the property and followed up several times as each concern was brought forward over the last year. When we follow up, by law, we make sure that the animals are receiving food and water, have appropriate shelter and, if there are any health concerns, that those concerns are being addressed. We do not close an investigation until we know that the standards of care are being met. 

In November 2018, our Officer attended the farm after concerns were brought forward regarding the standards of care not being met for the animals on the property. Our Officer noted one horse in particular that was ill as a result of a pre-existing medical condition and was under the care of a veterinarian. To be clear; the condition of the horse was the result of an illness. The horse was under veterinary care. When a veterinarian is involved, we do not have the authority to intervene and must defer to the veterinary medicine‎ professionals. With the winter months approaching, a discussion took place with the owners regarding the most humane option for the ill horse, and on Dec 1, 2018 the owner had the horse humanely euthanized by a veterinarian. 

When our Officer attended the property in November, it was noted that another one of the horses was in poor body condition. Although this animal remains under the care of a veterinarian, ‎we are working with the owner to specifically address body condition and are continuing to ensure the standards of care are met.

Under the law, the Ontario SPCA can only remove an animal if it is:  

  1. In immediate distress, as defined by provincial animal welfare legislation;
  2. Ordered under a certificate of a veterinarian or 
  3. If the owner has not complied with Orders, issued under provincial animal welfare legislation. 

In this situation, neither the Ontario SPCA nor the Norfolk OPP have the authority to remove these animals. We will continue to monitor the condition of the animals, working with the owners and their veterinarian to ensure their health and well-being. 

Again, the Society would like to thank the public for their concern for animals. As we move forward we will continue to provide updates regarding this case.