OSPCA Fails Another Horse – This Time with Tragic Consequences

 The blind mare surely knew that her friend was close by as she sank her bony frame to the ground for the final time.  For months in late 2010 they had tried to survive the creeping starvation by eating anything they could – tree trunks, posts and walls in the shed – whatever they could find that was remotely edible.

Tree bark chewed off

Wall of shed chewed through


  People in the neighbourhood had tried to help the two mares.  Calls were placed to the London Humane Society (LHS), who came, investigated and left without taking any action.  Sadly in December, it was too late for Cocoa as her life slipped from her in that cold, snow filled field in Southwest Middlesex, Ontario.  Gem, her companion, no doubt sniffed at her lifeless body and silently mourned her friend’s passing.

 The good neighbours had tried to help the only way they could by throwing hay over the fence.  Perhaps Cocoa could not find her way to the hay due to her blindness or perhaps she was too weak at that point.   Despite the neighbours’ attempts to assist by contacting the Humane Society to intervene, no one was there for them.


The neighbours that tried to help first noticed that things were going very wrong in November 2010.  Gem and Cocoa were being kept in a small paddock where no food or water was ever seen.  Their only shelter was a flimsy shed that they had partially eaten in a desperate attempt to stave off starvation.  The neighbours saw them constantly pawing at the ground trying to dig up any remaining grass roots.

The neighbours had asked the owner if he had any hay.  He simply said “NO”.  They wanted to help and began throwing hay over the fence twice a day.  But the days turned into weeks and the owner did not care or did not have the means to supply the hay himself.

Cocoa was extremely emaciated and blind in one eye.  She was so relieved to see hay she couldn’t get enough.  She had been slowly starving to death over the past few months.  She was a walking skeleton.

One evening the neighbours noticed her lying down towards the back of the paddock.  She tried to get up several times to come to feed and couldn’t find the strength to stand up.

Because of their concern for Gem and Cocoa the neighbours began making calls to the London Humane Society (LHS) on December 5th.  The LHS is an affiliate of the Ontario SPCA.  Their investigators are agents on behalf of the OSPCA as cruelty complaints fall under their auspices.

The neighbours left their phone number several times.  Their concern intensified when a large snow storm was approaching.  They knew that Cocoa would not likely survive as she continued to weaken and became immobilized in the field.

To these people’s dismay there was no response from the LHS to this life and death situation.  Tragically, Cocoa froze to death in the snowstorm that night in the same spot she had laid for days.  They called and left more messages, never once getting someone live on the phone at the LHS.

Finally after nine days, the LHS responded on December 14th.  The situation was explained again to the investigator, and the response was for them to keep feeding the surviving horse over the fence, and that the LHS would inform them when to stop.

 As the days progressed, they called the LHS again about Cocoa still lying dead in the field, and that still no hay was being fed by the owner to the surviving horse, Gem.  The LHS returned their call and stated that they had visited the owner’s property that day.  They said that they could do nothing about the dead horse but said they would take the other horse to foster care at another farm, to keep feeding Gem over the fence and they would inform them when to stop feeding.

The neighbours were somewhat relieved by this as they thought that the OSPCA affiliate was finally going to take action, but alas, this did not happen.  What did happen was that more and more days passed by and still nothing happened – the situation remained unchanged.

In frustration, the neighbours directly approached the owner of the horses.  The owner was not concerned that the LHS had been there and in fact said that the investigator had apologized for having bothered him! 

The horses’ owner gave details:

*no orders were issued to provide food or water.(the only source of water was a completely frozen water trough, pictured here)

*No orders were issued to have the dead horse removed. (Cocoa’s body had lain there for 7 weeks)

Cocao's emaciated hip

Cocoa's spine and hip

Underside of Cocoa's neglected hoof


     *no issues were ordered to have Gem’s hooves trimmed.

Gem's untrimmed hoof

*no orders were given to address the hair loss on Gem’s face or to have a vet check her.

  *nothing was mentioned about the very thin dogs left outside 24/7 with no food or water and one duck locked in a cage with no fresh water.


 The only instructions given were the neighbours were to keep feeding the remaining horse and to keep monitoring the situation.  No orders for the owner of the animals – only for the neighbours trying to help!

 The owner was said to actually laugh to the neighbours and said “they’re just wannabe cops” and “…they weren’t here all of 3 minutes and apologized for bothering me!”

 December 30th came and they were still feeding Gem over the fence and each time they had to look at poor Cocoa’s body still lying there.

 Gem Rescued Without LHS/OSPCA Intervention

 In an attempt to help save Gem the neighbours called a local horse rescuer who came out immediately.  Together with the neighbours they pleaded with the owner to surrender Gem to them.  Within minutes arrangements were made to remove Gem from the horrible conditions she was living in.

 What OSPCA Promises and the Harsh Reality

 From the OSPCA website:  http://ontariospca.ca/5-faqs.shtml

 What are the Ontario SPCA’s core values?

  • The Ontario SPCA believes that:
  • The Ontario SPCA must act to prevent cruelty and to encourage consideration for all animals.
  • No animal should suffer.
  • All animals should have a good quality of life and should be treated with compassion.
  • The Society must advocate for improved animal welfare and protection.
  • Those who abuse or neglect animals should be appropriately penalized.
  • All animal welfare organizations should work cooperatively for the benefit of animals.
  • The Society should set high standards for animal care, protection and shelter.
  • The Society must educate the public on animal welfare.
  • Dedicated and committed volunteers and staff are essential to the success of the Society.
  • All those who contribute to the success of the Society deserve recognition and appreciation.
  • The Society should serve the whole province.

 Also:  http://ontariospca.ca/5-faqs.shtml under OSPCA General Operations:

 What is the structure of the Ontario SPCA?

Shelters: The Ontario SPCA is comprised of more than 50 Communities providing care and shelter for tens of thousands of animals each year.

Inspectors and Agents: The Society Inspectors and Agents, who investigate cases of animal cruelty and neglect, have the same powers as police officers when enforcing animal protection laws. Under the Ontario SPCA Act, first decreed in 1919, the Society may intervene directly to rescue animals at risk. This unique authority is both our privilege and our strength.

 Anyone reading this, and knowing the suffering that Cocoa and Gem endured has to ask, if the OSPCA “is one of the largest, most responsive animal welfare organizations in the country providing care and shelter for tens of thousands of animals every year”, then why was this suffering allowed to continue and why didn’t the OSPCA/LHS “act to prevent cruelty” and “advocate for improved animal welfare and protection” in this case?  These horses were betrayed not only by their owner but by the very agency mandated to protect them!

 The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has been contacted by people or involved in other similar animal cruelty and neglect situations.  We’ve seen horses that have been starved and neglected yet, incredibly, the OSPCA did not intervene on the horses’ behalf.

 Also, if a horse died as a result of starvation and neglect, charges were never laid against the owners, despite attempts with the OSPCA by concerned citizens to help bring justice to the horses and to prevent other animals from enduring the same fate.  These documented incidents occurred in other regions of Ontario.  The outcome was the same which indicates a systemic failure of the OSPCA to protect horses in life and death situations and a failure to punish people who’ve made the conscious choice to deny food, water, shelter and care for their animals.


Without caring people and animal welfare advocates outside of the official agencies that are supposed to protect animals in Ontario, Gem’s fate and others like her would surely end up the same as Cocoa – forgotten and neglected to their death. 

 The neighbours have stated to this writer that, “We have lost total faith in the OSPCA and we will never call them again to help, nor will we ever donate funds to them again because our money did not go to help these horses in desperate need”.  Gem and Cocoa were failed by the only people who had the power to save them. The only help they received was instead from kind, caring citizens.

 A small group of Gem’s fans pooled together and now she is in a brand new roomy box stall with straw up to her knees, good quality hay and fresh water.  She is finally showing signs of renewed life, after an aggressive deworming program, good hay, grain, shelter and rest. 

Gem - January 20th, 2011 - the ordeal finally over

Subsequently, the Ministry of Environment was called out on December 21st to have the owners remove Cocoa’s body.  No one was home so the MOE rep left his business card on the owner’s door.  The MOE rep called the neighbours to tell them what steps he’d taken.

Not surprisingly, in light of all the circumstances surrounding this whole situation, the MOE never came back.  On January 13th, 2011 Cocoa was still lying in the frozen field.  The neighbours found it extremely upsetting to see her there simply discarded.  Plus her body was a well contamination danger and an attraction for coyotes to come closer to their home and animals.  Cocoa’s body was also in plain view to passers-by including small children.  What kind of example for respect of life is this for small children?

 The neighbours finally wrote a hand-delivered letter of concern to their local Councilor.  He quickly acted on the situation and on January 14thCocoa’s body was at long last removed.
May she finally be at peace.

 What Can You Do?

 For information on how you can make a donation towards Gem’s rehabilitation, please visit Equine Adoption and Rehabilitation Farm at www.saveahorse.ca.

 If you agree what happened to Cocoa and Gem is unacceptable, please make your voice heard, by contacting the OSPCA:  http://ontariospca.ca/8-provincial.shtml

16586 Woodbine Avenue, RR 3
Newmarket, ON L3Y 4W1
Tel  1-888-668-7722


Chief Executive Officer, Kate MacDonald
Chief Inspector, Connie Mallory 

OSPCA Senior Management

  • Kate MacDonald – CEO
  • Tom Stephenson – CFO
  • Jim Sykes – COO
  • Connie Mallory – Chief Inspector
  • Tanya Firmage – Director of Animal Care
  • Craig Mabee – Director of Development
  • Rosaline Ryan – Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Debbie Schepens – Director of Human Resources

 OSPCA Board of Directors

  • Arthur King
  • Bonnie Deeken
  • Catherine MacNeill
  • Jean Belfour (Secretary)
  • Kari Wilson (Vice Chair)
  • Lynn Michaud
  • Melanie Coulter (Treasurer)
  • Rob Godfrey (Chair)
  • Stewart Hill

 You can also contact:

London Humane Society (Affiliate)


624 Clarke Road
London, ON N5V 3K5
phone: 519-451-0630
fax: 519-451-8995

email: administration@londonhumane.ca

Support Resolution to Bring OSPCA Under Provincial Oversight

On June 1, 2010, at Queen’s Park, Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees tabled a resolution in the Ontario Legislature that if adopted, will bring the OSPCA under provincial oversight:


A Petition can be downloaded to help gather signatures: Please feel free to download petition here

“That, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario Legislature call on the Government of Ontario to review the powers and authority granted to the OSPCA under the OSPCA Act and to make the necessary legislative changes to bring those powers under the authority of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure that there is a clearly defined and effective provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province, and to separate the inspection and enforcement powers of the OSPCA from its functions as a charity providing animal shelter services.”

 Your actions can help make a difference.  Thank you for taking the time to contact the OSPCA to let them know how you feel about Cocoa and Gem’s treatment, and for showing support for MPP Klees’ resolution to bring the OSPCA under the authority of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.  If any case proves that sweeping changes are necessary at the OSPCA and their affiliated Humane Societies, it is this one.

 For the horses,

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition




  1. alicia reed · ·

    this is extremely heartbreaking!! i cant believe the organization in charge of protectiong our animals is the ones who actually killed ! we need to do something about this! to everyone who helped with this and fed those poor horses, i wish there where more people like you but by telling this story and getting the word out hopefully it will inspire others to be the same way! and also stand together to get things changed!

  2. john clark · ·

    it is up to the on gov’t to do something about this organization. i will not go through what my family had to. no one want’s to hear anyway
    we lost our farm and everything along with hundreds of thousand of dollars. my wife and i are not criminals but they treated us as such. that is all i have to say. and i know you will not allow this blog but it doesn’t bother me. all papers of dealings with ospca are going internet wide.


    about the OSPCA, i wrote K. Mac Donald CEO about an issue asking for a reply on Nov.18 2011, no reply so i wrote Dalton Mc Ginty about the contempt she demonstrates toward those who may question her on Jan 12 2012,no reply as yet. I wrote C. Mallory, chief inspector for the O.S.P.C.A.about an issue asking for a reply on Jan. 9 2012, no reply, more contempt towards those who question this ROGUE ORGINAZITION. my next letter is to the Ontario Ombusban about this orginazition that incorrectly believes they are NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO ANYONE. I urge you all to write the Ontario Ombusban to complain about this ROGUE ORGINAZITION. If anyone can get results the Ombusban of ONTARIO can.

  4. To the lawyers reading this:
    Why can’t we bring a lawsuit against OSPCA for lack of performance of their mandate on behalf of their supporters, particularly in the case of the ringworm murders? There would seems to be enough evidence to claim that they do not always comply with their own policies and mandate to protect animals:

    Their website states their mandate as: “the Ontario SPCA Act mandates the Society to enforce animal cruelty laws and provides Ontario SPCA Community investigators with police powers to do so.”.

    They are clearly not fulfilling their lawful mandate for whatever reason (incompetence, indifference, …). I stopped supporting them because I felt they were not fulfilling their fiduciary duties. Others obviously feel the same. Why can we not hold them accountable? Are they not legally responsible to their supporters? Otherwise it’s fraud isn’t it? And since they don’t report to anyone, perhaps they can be accountable to citizens thru the courts. At least it may get their attention.

  5. Hey Lp
    What is it that you do for neglected or abused animals? How many lives have you saved??????
    I don’t sit around and bitch on the internet, I rescue and I rehab many many horses and other small animals and I will continue to step in when the public calls me after they get no response from the spca
    I have 78 animals under my care that would have otherwise died a horrible death
    Why don’t you put as much effort into helping an animal with your bare hands and your own $$$$$$ as you do defending the SPCA….who did NOTHING for the horses, the dogs or the duck.
    I was there, I made my own phone calls to them before I stepped in and did something including having the carcass removed after it had layed there for 7 weeks. And don’t even try to bash us animal rescue groups because I will gladly go toe to toe with you and you won’t be able to muzzle me.

  6. shoshone · ·

    The SPCA is only as good as their staff. The people that do the grunt work in the shelters are terrific. The rest all the way to the top are more or less useless and answer to know one. The RCMP have the power to do something if the spca will not.

    It was told not to bother calling again about a herd of neglected horses. They will never get another cent from me.

  7. […] Some of you may not know the story of Gem and Cocoa that sadly ended in tragedy for Cocoa.  For those of you who did not hear about this you can read about here:  https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/ospca-fails-another-horse-this-time-wi… […]

  8. concerned animal lover · ·

    one word : DISGUSTING

    It is horrible to think you can’t count on the ospca to help when help is needed, however they need people to donate so they can help…. this does not make any sense.. I will not donate to them and they have lost all faith and trust from me. Iam a huge animal lover having 2 dogs and have had a horse before I know how great, loving, amazing and beautiful all animals are. To see or know of someone being cruel to an animal makes me sick.. I wanted to go work for the opsca and now have changed my mind as i don”t want to work with heartless people who could have saved that horses life and did nothing!!!
    ALL animals look to us humans and trust us to feed, water, cuddle, groom and talk to them and make sure they get the very best care possible to live a long and healthy life, I feel if you can’t or won’t do this you have no right to own an animal!!!

    I want to say sorry to the neighbors that they had to deal with this but Iam greatful that they tried their very hardest to save the horse and fed them, if only every person was like you.. and for the other horse (the one that was saved) thank you for getting her into a good, loving, safe and stable home, I know she never would have made it without you!! The world needs more people like you!!!

    also does anyone know what happened to the dogs on the property??

    1. Yes, I do. They are still there tied outside, barking their heads off constantly. Nothing was ever done about the dogs and the duck. If I could have taken them all….beleive me I would have, but the owners refused to let me because they claimed that they were their babies. They are yet in for another brutal winter and may not be so lucky this time.
      Good news is….Read the update on gem. it is the latest story on the blog.

  9. observer · ·

    @LP- wow, talk about misinformation! The ospca actually receives millions in gov’t funding. Could they do better? You bet your paycheque they could but they don’t want to! While it’s true there are many people working for ospca doing an excellent job for the animals, it’s that very same ceo and board members who make all the final decisions that give this whole organization a very bad taste in the mouths of the public who are in the know.
    This is a blog focusing mainly on horses, yet there ARE many concerned comments regarding the emaciated dogs AND the duck, but you don’t even question the ospca’s total lack of concern for ANY of the animals in the place? talk about hypocritical!
    And if you actually read all the comments you’d know full well that Connie Mallory from the provincial office knows all about this? As for contacting the ospca expressing our concern and offering to help volunteer, this same wonderful ospca you’re defending REFUSED all offers of help and got rid of all the wonderful volunteers back in May 2010 when the ceo and board made the ludicrous decision to kill 350 healthy animals!
    If you want to improve something LP I would suggest that you do some simple internet research into this organization before you continue to defend such a greedy sick disfunctional group of people! They are NOT doing the best they can, as a matter of fact this organization has proven time and time again for years that animals are the LEAST of their concern! Until accountability and transparency is given ,they do not deserve our support, the DESERVE our disdain!

  10. Wow – all the misinformation here is incredible.

    The OSPCA receives precious little government funding. The vast majority of their income comes from donations, sponsorship etc.

    Could they do better? Sure – and given that I know many of the people who work there, I can tell you that they are trying to do better. They’ve got a relatively new CEO and a relatively new board Chair.

    I find it ironic that most of you only seem to care about the horses. I guess emaciated dogs don’t matter? Hypocrisy… at its finest.

    If you want to improve something, don’t sit around and bitch on the internet. Get involved. Does anyone at the provincial office even know about this? Did you approach them screaming and yelling – or did you contact them expressing concern and offering to help volunteer and make it better?

    Oh and by the way… the CRA is changing the guidelines for animal welfare charities. They’re attempting to muzzle them to stop them from speaking up against puppy mills, farmers, animal research and more…. So again – if you want to really protect animals, I’d suggest that you get involved. The OSPCA is not your enemy. They’re doing the best they can within the law and within the resources they have.

    The small rescue’s are band-aid’s. The OSPCA could do great things -but to do that, they need your help, not your disdain.

  11. I was being facetious. How else could we get proof of neglect, without a vet’s corroboration? I know, it’s impossible.

    Obviously, proof by looking at the animal, and recording it’s clear decline in condition, wasn’t enough for the OSPCA. I tried to get another veterinary opinion, but the Dr. I asked wasn’t comfortable with it. The Ontario vet “didn’t want to get involved”. And this was a vet WITH HORSES.

    I’d like to repeat to Joe Public, EVERYthing that could be legally done, was done. People at the track, people in rescue, many other people tried to buy him. Everyone “stepped up”. But the legal owner of the horse can do whatever it wants with the animal.
    The owner of Chief was NOT interested in anyone else’s opinion of the care of the animal.
    The OSPCA was Apalachian Chief’s only legal hope.

  12. observer · ·

    Horse in Garage? Not sure how we could get a vet to look at someone else’s animals on someone else’s property? Mind you if they got loose and we picked them up off the road as a stray and took them to a vet for a complete check-up immediately?….but then, we wouldn’t need the OSPCA at all then would we? Maybe THAT’S why Gem and the others where left? hmmm

  13. I am not dissing the ACRB, I am asking a question. All of your questions are relevant, too. Why are lawyers, and not vets, the majority of the ACRB? I asked a question, you misconstrued it as a diss.

    You said “Isn’t their job to know how to manage and search out and keep employed qualified people to deal with the animals.” Yes, it is. They have investigators with no farm experience. One OSPCA investigator, in my presence, referred to Chief’s situation as “icky”. How scientific.
    The cattle farmer that had boarded the owner’s mare was completely disgusted with the situation Chief was put into.
    The scary thing for me was the OSPCA’s assertion that Chief’s care was suitable and adequate, even after repeated proof that it was not.

    Chief was removed from the garage on November 27. His owner, and I assume the OSPCA, know where he is. Read the press releases, and the assertion from the OSPCA that he was doing much better “now”.

    Many people at the track, and other members of the horse community HAVE spoken out about Chief’s lack of care, that’s why an OSPCA press release was issued on November 3, 2010, to assuage the public’s concerns. It worked perfectly. The public thinks Chief is fine now. The OSPCA says so, therefore it must be true.

    As to why the vets of this province do not have any gumption, I have no answers.
    Fear of the owner’s litigation, probably. The owner has been successful in this regard before, and this is also well-known at the track.

    The ONLY agency that could have helped Chief, was the OSPCA.
    And since their word is law, all of our reasonable concerns were ignored.

    People want to believe in the OSPCA. So did I. I threw money at them for years, because I thought they were doing good work. I had no proof of this, I simply wanted to believe it. Most people do.

    In future, I would recommend calling a lawyer, and a vet, as soon as you report neglect. Might as well cover all the bases.
    Since most of us don’t pull that type of professional salary, I fear it will discourage people from reporting anything. Why bother? We can’t afford it.
    And since horses can now be kept in garages, without any exercise, inadequate food/water/sanitation, and the OSPCA condoned this type of “care”, I do fear for the future of animals in this province.

  14. HG ,I do have to wonder why you are dissing the Animal Care Review Board. Are they not a Governor General appointed body that is there to protect your rights if the OSPCA wrongly accuses you ?
    I find it interesting that in chief’s case the only reaction seems to be from an out of province vet.Maybe rather than focusing totally on the OSPCA ,from a chief standpoint , the focus should be on why the Ontario vets , the horse organisations and those breeding and making millions of dollars off of some of these animals aren’t stepping up to the plate and saying his treatment was unacceptable. Since the final say on whether he is removed or not seems to ly in the hands of the veterinary community, why are they not being dragged through the crap along side the SPCA?

    As far as the OSPCA management having no animal knowledge, does it really matter ? Isn’t their job to know how to manage and search out and keep employed qualified people to deal with the animals. Obviously if they are not doing that right they need to be removed but for different reasons than you suggest.

    So ;is he back in the garage or not?

  15. Linda Horn · ·

    Off-topic, but this post has had the most activity of any I’ve read from CHDC, and I don’t know how much response their Egyptian post will get. The current situation in Egypt is dire for horses, has resulted in a number starving to death, and is bound to get worse. I’m putting this up in several US blogs as well.

    This is what The Brooke (an organization that helps equids in poor countries) is currently doing to bring aid to the Egyptian horses, with a link for donations:

    This is a very sad account of the current situation, along with contact info on donations to the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals:
    This statement is particularly important: “No cash money will be handed over to the horse owners, only food.”
    If you want to donate to ESMA specifically for the horses make that clear, because they’re working to save dogs and cats as well.

  16. observer · ·

    And now that Chief’s wonderful owner has hidden him from view again we will never really know just how he is being cared for, or even if he’s long dead by now! thanks Connie.

  17. Let’s put this another way, then, Mr. Joe Public.

    I supported the OSPCA for many years, financially. I am now afraid of this organization, because of it’s penchant for being untruthful. To call the CHDC blog inaccurate is just a way of saying “We were right, you are all wrong and you all lied.”

    I will never call them again, for anything. I do not doubt for a second, the veracity of the reporting of this sad story. Chief’s story could have ended this way too, if the owner had moved him into the garage in the wintertime. The OSPCA lied, again, and again, and again, with regards to Chief’s story.
    I am afraid to post my name publicly, because of the OSPCA. They frighten me far more than I can articulate.

    Is that clear enough for you? Or are you skipping every other word?

    Why do YOU support an OSPCA management that has no animal knowledge, no background in animal care? They are great at fund-raising, that’s for sure. Animal welfare, not so much. Ward McAlister did NOT ask Dr. Gaviller to look up the most recent Animal Welfare Acts, in his correspondence with the Dr. regarding Chief’s “care”. We are in 2011, not 1990, Mr. McAlister.
    Mr. McAlister must be unaware of his own organizations “triumphs” as regards animal welfare legislation.

    Perhaps the OSPCA could explain why there is a single vet on the “Animal Care Review Board”, and all the rest are lawyers?
    Perhaps the OSPCA could explain why, when a letter written to Catherine Willson, (a horse-person, as well as a lawyer) the author of the Canadian Horse Annual article, asked for her opinion of Chief’s health through his incarceration, she stated that she was a lawyer, not a vet, and could not comment?
    Yet Ms. Willson was happy to report that according to the OSPCA, Chief’s “care” was deemed acceptable.

    I guess the above commenter who said “Call a lawyer, as soon as you call the OSPCA”, was right. How sad is that? The burden of proof is not on the OSPCA, it is on the reporter of the cruelty/neglect. When proof of neglect is supplied, it is ignored or dismissed as inaccurate. How does that make ANY sense?

    STOP donating to the OSPCA. STOP hiding your heads in the sand. They are not helping to improve animal welfare. That is NOT their mandate.
    Ask the OSPCA what THEY are doing, to improve animal welfare laws in this province. I happen to know the answer. Nothing.
    Far from it. The OSPCA are lowering animal care standards, one dead animal at a time. Or in Chief’s case, one ruined animal.
    The truth is caged, and the OSPCA has the only key.
    Heaven help the animals.

  18. Sorry Elizabeth , poor choice of words on my part. Let me reduce the ambiguity . I’m just a member of joe public and the baffle with bullshit techniques and points that I see posted here tend to lend more credibility to the OSPCA than to the blog owner and I know that is not what you want to achieve. I’m just suggesting that before someone hits that “post comment” button ,you think about how, what you are saying is going to serve the good goals that you are striving for.

  19. Nora Barber · ·

    Do the dogs go under their 57? reasons to kill? They will probably be terrified taken into a shelter. If they have never been in a house and are older, have a few lumps, blind, deaf, dehydrated, emaciated, if they growl, need surgery, hair missing, “RINGWORM” Will you do what ever it takes to save these dogs Ospca/SPCA ? Are you doing whatever it takes? And if you are not capable, will you reach out to the public to those who would actually be able to help these dogs and give them a chance or to some expert in the states that will say there is no hope? And what about the duck? Is the owner approachable by any neighbour to ask what happened to them?

  20. Elizabeth Jones · ·

    You call this advertising? I certainly would not want people talking about my work or business in this manner. It is hopefully, a wake up call that they cannot sit on thier butts and let animals suffer and die because they did NOTHING! This is horrendous non-action by an organization who is supposed to be out there protecting animals from neglect and abuse rather than sitting in thier nice cushy offices on their asses. WAKE UP OSPCA. You are going to lose those nice cushy jobs you value so highly. God and Good will prevail. Answer the questions of all the people. We must know what happened to the Dog and the Duck? AND DO NOT LIE OR PUT US OFF AGAIN!!!

  21. No Response · ·

    What if you call after 7 pm for a possible life saving situation and you are very concerned for some animals. But you’re not sure cause you are not the trained agent and you know the only one that can investigate is the Ospca. If you phone the Ospca after 7 PM and phone again and again till after 11:00 pm and still no return call. You give up and go to bed cause there is nothing you can do. If you finally get a call back at 9:00AM the next morning! Are they down on donations and won’t pay for after hour concerns therefore not responding to calls of great concern at night?

  22. Nora Barber · ·

    Yes, thank you! for being there for these animals and all you did to help. That is obvious! “NO-ONE is blaming you. You are a hero in my mind. Thank You for bringing this to public’s attention. I personally know what you are going through. You were “powerless” as I was and still am. You cared..so it will always have haunting effects on you and anyone else that has had the misfortune to have to sink to reliance on the “POWERS THAT BE”.

  23. Does anyone find it suspicious that the names of four posters here all link back to the rescue. …. And you wonder why no one listens to you???

    I am curious though where did Connie say anything about London not getting the call.

    This blog is getting to be the OSPCA’ s best advertising and I really don’t like them so I wish you would all pay a little more attention to Natalie’s post.

  24. I don’t know why you guys are so worried about the phone records. We called in our concerns more than once, not even getting a courtesy return phone call.
    How else would the SPCA have known where to go? We did not call the OSPCA, we called London directly.
    We don’t appreciate being called liars, we phoned,(more than once) we fed the horses and we kept feeding Gem over the fence ( long after Cocoa passed away) and we kept monitoring the situation like we were told to do. We were told also that Gem was going to go to a Foster Farm, to keep feeding and we would be informed when to stop feeding.
    We contacted the Rescue Farm and they came out right away and Gem was removed immediately. Nothing to do with the SPCA removing her.
    Seems like our phone calls were a waste of time in getting the animals the help they needed. Now phone calls seem to be the only concern. The question here should be WHY WAS NOTHING DONE FOR THE REMAINING ANIMALS? Yes, it was too late for Cocoa, but what about Gem’s future well-being, the duck and the dogs?
    I can’t beleive how Connie says in her response that the dogs and duck were not an issue as well as Gem’s hooves. Correct me if I am wrong, You can have starving animals and dead ones on your property, but if they are not mentioned in the complaint when you phone it in, they don’t matter?
    Let me get this straight. They only investigate the mentioned animal and the mentioned concern, not other animals in the owners posession and not the animal involved from head to hoof.
    Unless it is mentioned in the complaint, they turn a blind eye to it.
    Having to see that poor dead horse lying there day in and day out for 7 weeks was really disturbing and we are going to be haunted by all of this for a very long time.
    There wasn’t one shred of dignity for that poor horse.
    Gem would have starved as well had we not kept feeding her.
    Our neighbours didn’t even have the decency to walk out of their house and thank us, not even once. They said they watched us out the window feeding her twice a day though.
    If they had hay and feed, they should have came out and told us this wasn’t necessary or ask us what we were doing at the fence feeding their horses twice a day.
    We would not allow people to throw feed over our fence to our horses as it could be poison.

    We are totally discusted with this whole scene.
    We thaught we were doing the right thing for the animals and this caused us alot of sorrow and grief.
    WE ARE NOT LIARS. WE CARED VERY MUCH. That’s why we made the calls.

    1. observer · ·

      You are not alone! This is not the first time nor the last time neglegted animals have been totally ignored by “trained” agents. I truly believe if this place was a state of the art facility, the ospca would have seized every living breathing creature on the entire property, inside and out, perfectly healthy or even lacking a full water dish! Then they’d hold them all while their appeal board decides there was NO wrongdoing and then the owners are forced to pay HUGE amounts of ransom money to get them back!
      In this case I imagine if the owner hadn’t even money for food, he certainly wouldn’t pay any ransom money!, so the remaining animals would have to stay…this complaint would cost ospca a few bucks, and we all know how well they value MONEY more than animals! So far it hasn’t cost them a red cent because the caring public is footing the bill and rescuing the animals for them!!! I can’t understand how anyone in their right mind can continue to support such a shameful organization!!!! This should be FRONT PAGE NEWS DAILY!! It’s disgusting.

    2. Shelley from CHDC · ·

      We are supporters on this blog. No one here is calling you a liar. Having the phone records would only help prove your case against the LHS – they are the ones disputing it – not the rest of us here. They’re part of a large organization that is complicit in bending truths to their own benefit. If it’s one person against a large org like OSPCA/LHS, then bringing forward proof (if possible) to back up your information is just an extra step to take. Please don’t take it personal! And if you’re unable to produce phone records, then it’s a lesson here FOR ALL OF US to be able to produce proof. That is their “OUT” that they depend on – let’s not give it to them!

    3. Shelley from CHDC · ·

      BTW I wanted to THANK YOU very much for all you did to help these horses there. It must have been very hard to watch the days and weeks go by, with no actions being taken to help them. Thank goodness you were there, since the LHS was clearly NOT.

    4. observer · ·

      neighbours–PLEASE don’t be concerned at all regarding the phone! here’s how I see it. Connie Mallory has cleverly mentioned above (5 times no less!) that NO phone calls were rec’d BEFORE Dec 9th. Yet she also never mentions anywhere in her reply about any calls they rec’d AFTER Dec 9th! I see this as a clever tactic called ‘DISTRACTION’ designed specifically to shift the FOCUS off the real issues (like a double murder trial shifted to focus solely on a black glove), that are now arising regarding their fully trained Agents lack of proper action on a complaint. It really makes no difference at all WHAT DAY the initial call for help was made. what really matters is just how that call for help was handled! They basically did NOTHING to help ANY animals on this property! So let’s put the FOCUS back where it belongs, not on the date of one phone call, (black glove) but back on the OSPCA’s complete failure of animals in distress!

  25. N. Barber · ·

    Does anyone know if this guy has been charged under the Ospca Act?

  26. N. Barber · ·

    Connie, could you “PLEASE” at least let us know if the dogs and the duck are fine? Could you at the very least answer that question? Just that they are taken care of?

    1. “cannot comment on any open investigation”, and it will remain open INDEFINITELY. quite a system they got goin here for the PROTECTION OF THEMSELVES!

  27. Shelley is right.
    Gem is no more than 4 yrs.old and the neighbours were feeding 2 bales of hay per day plus grain and corn over the fence for over a month, plus she had already been at the Rescue Farm for a month before filmed by A-Channel, so she had been fed for almost 3 months regularily.
    Gem is very aggressive when eating so she probably hogged it all.
    When wormed she passed worms for 2 days. Pot belly is right!!
    Young horses bounce back very quickly and don’t forget, the ribs on her are hidden by winter hair. You can run your hands over her and count the ribs
    Cocoa was only 22 according to the owner and no way is that the frame of an old age horse lying dead. Ya can’t fool me about horses, not even a dead one. How about the hoof growth on each horse???? Total total neglect. Did anyone notice the hoof on Cocoa??? Gem’s hoof was split in half and looked like a cow’s hoof. So noticeable.
    Why was a blacksmith not ordered for Gem????
    Funny how Gem is in a brand new box stall and hasn’t once chewed one piece of wood.
    Gee, Why is that????
    Love how A-Channel turned it around like it was London Humane Society’s story of an ongoing investigation…What ongoing investigation??
    How was Gem’s face addressed?….It wasn’t
    Connie lied when she said they received the calls and then passed them on to London.
    All calls were made directly to London. Including a call from myself.
    I am the one who gave the neighbours the London Branches phone # along with the extension # for Investigations Department.
    Neighbour have not seen, nor have they heard the dogs barking lately….so who knows.
    They’re now probably out of sight out of mind.
    The address of the place is 1034 Longwoods Road(Hwy#2) Wardsville, Ont. if anyone else would care to go and check.

  28. Yes, that was Chief’s biggest problem. His giant belly, distended from eating that terrible hay, and of course his cage-door and walls.
    To a layman, he looked like a skinny pregnant mare. Shiney, too, of course, amazing what a little show-sheen will do.

    Why did the OSPCA lie about the pictures taken of Chief, saying they were “several months old”??
    Scares the heck out of me, how blithely they lied. How easily lying seems to come to them. They might have learned that from Chief’s owner.

  29. Tic Toc Tic Toc · ·

    Am I glad to know the dogs are no longer seen on the property. Would that be good news or bads news? I guess it depends who tooks them! What about the duck? As far as Gem not being emaciated. Looks like an enormous distended belly to me…parasites I have had several very aged horses over years, 30yrs on. And my present 30 yr old is blind! Although none of mine were thin. Some older horses may have a harder time keeping weight but this is not keeping weight, It is called bones, from starvation, from extreme neglect. There is “NO” excuse for a horse to appear this way unless you dug it up out of the ground after weeks. Is this not a criminal offence under the Ospca Act

  30. Shelley from CHDC · ·

    I want to mention a couple of things. First, I’ve heard that the dogs are no longer seen on the property, and the neighbours are not certain if they’ve been removed, or someone else has them now.

    I also want to mention that when Gem was seen on the A Channel film, she appeared to be in fairly good body condition. Some people may wonder why Gem was not emaciated, but Gem is a young horse – only 3-4 years old. Cocoa was aged, and partially blind. Any horse person knows that aged horses have more difficulty maintaining good body condition, even under normal circumstances. Here these horses were being fed minimally if at all, and little or no access to water or shelter. Cocoa deteriorated more quickly, and Gem likely got more of the hay – who knows what condition Cocoa’s teeth were in!. The pictures of Cocoa, the chewed trees and shed, and frozen water trough tells the horrible reality.

  31. Goodness sakes, Gord. The owner of Chief didn’t do anything wrong, of course not! A stellar example of our horse-keeping standards in Ontario. Also a great example of the fact that horses are really cheap to feed/house! Keep them in a garage, don’t feed them!
    You can do it too!

    That particular case is a shining example of our donations and tax dollars helping the OSPCA improve animal welfare and prevent cruelty to animals.

    That was sarcasm, Connie, in case you missed it.

    Did anyone read the Canadian Horse Annual’s article on Animal Welfare legislation? It was written by a lawyer. Apalachian Chief’s story was mentioned! OSPCA came off great, again! You see, if the OSPCA says the minimum standards are being met, the animal is therefore in good health!
    Oh, and those two vets (strangely, never identified) that proclaimed Chief to be healthy were able to set the public’s mind at ease!
    Not mine, of course, but then I was there. I know Chief’s owner will never EVER care for her animals with any thought to their welfare. The owner enjoys animals suffering.
    That’s legal in this country of ours. No Country for Animals, indeed.

  32. Nora Barber · ·

    Gord, How can they charged this owners when the Ospca has infact left animals knowing full well of the conditions (dead horse in field is 1st clue) and still did nothing to help the remaining animals from most likely suffering the same fate (again clue – dead horse in field). What have you done to help the dogs and a duck Connie? Have you sent in your trained agents again…cause they have already been there? So how can they charge this owner when they are guilty of the same? Connie, I would like to make a complaint of the Ospca but there is “NO-ONE” to contact that will deal with the multiple concerns.

  33. Elizabeth Jones · ·

    For the dog and the duck – I personally would go over to this person and ask if you could take them to find a new home. If he refuses, then it is time for a midnight requisition if you know what I mean. If I were the neighbor I would just take them and document, document, document with Pictures of them in the owners posession, with a tape recording of asking for the animals – his answer and of the taking the animals. Make sure everything is witnessed and do not do it alone. Make sure that there are several witnesses with you at all times. Not only so they will see and hear everything, but for your protection. It will be more difficult for the owner when approached by a group of people than if you go it alone. A video of your visit/dated would be perfect, You could send it to the media if he refuses and it would document your visits what was seen and the conditions of the animals.

    If at all possible try to take an officer of the law with you.

  34. Charged with what Gord? Mallory will probably issue a bullshit press release soon just like with Chief saying ( these animals care meets our code of “minimum standards” and our hands are tied to do anything) !!!!!! useless bunch of

  35. Can someone please update me…have either of the owners (Appalachian Chief and Cocoa and Gem) been charged at all?

  36. I dont’ think I can add too much more but all I can say that the OSPCA and LHS are knit picking…how come Gem was taken to a local rescue centre on December 31st and the first visit was December 9th…nothing has been done in between to move Gem away from this neglect and cruelty? I’m not a vet but I cat tell if an animal is in disress…you don’t have to be a rocket scientist….shelter, food, water…the basics of owning an animal. If you can’t provide that. peopele should not own them. People, who like animals know that, so they give more…love…and in return they are loved. So now if we could get those dogs away from this guy! He should be banned from owning another animal! My hats off to saveahorse.ca for stepping in!

  37. N. Barber · ·

    Please Witness , what will happen with the dogs and duck. Will the owner let them be taken to be re-homed. Have to save them from the owner and the Ospca. What are they doing for food, water and shelter now?

  38. Animal lover · ·

    This story saddened me deeply. I came across it during a search for help for some horses in my neighbourhood in N Ontario. My neighbour has at least 6 horses that in my observations (3-4 times a day) have no water, are not allowed in the barn (temps down to -33 lately), and have hay only occasionally. They have not had hay for nearly 2 wks that I can see. I called the local Humane Society in North Bay who are affiliated with OSPCA in Nov and was told that they have had other complaints and were looking into it. Now it is Feb and I see no change in the conditions. This week I called twice again, only to be told that “the case is open”. I don’t know what else I can do. I need to remain anonymous as the owner has a bad reputation and is often drunk.

    1. Tic Toc, Tic Toc...OSPCA · ·

      Animal Lover..are you documenting, recording, taking pictures? Contact any horse rescue in your area and more (far and wide). They will network. They will give you advice. Contact the person who has Gem. The link is on this blog. Please do something! Call SPCA 5 times per day every day if need be! Oh, hmm, I have an idea, Call Connie at H.O. She is up north ? not at H.O.? You can contact her at the Newmarket ph. # Ask her if she will “reach out to the local North Bay SPCA”. And document facts as to what may or may not have been done on a (daily basis). If you do not want to be seen by this person while taking pictures then get someone else to. Have as many people as you can go to the property to witness what you have seen. Advise SPCA that you will Report to your local news… make report to police with concerns for yourself of owner. If possible talk to other neighbours.
      Well Connie, What say you about this?? Is the Ontario SPCA going to reach out to North Bay SPCA!!???? Look at the time frame again.

      1. Tic Toc, Tic Toc...OSPCA · ·

        Also: People from this blog may help by contacting “O” SPCA and the “NB” SPCA and demand to know what they are doing to help these horse. When are they going to ?

  39. I can’t believe what you people try to pull over the public – I was with witness one at every visit, the owner told us that it had been weeks since there was any hay for the horses, I pointed out to him that he still had cigarettes, a cell phone and mega christmas lights all over- he just grinned at me. He also laughed profusely at the visit he received from your Agents. I myself sponsored the spca for years until I adopted a dog that was claimed to be a level 4(most agressive level of a dog) Once he was trimmed and groomed and could lift his leg to pee he was a teddy bear, my 2 yr old grandson slept with him.
    I called many times to the London Humane Society and got sarcastic responses like – we were there and didn’t see anything wrong with the animals – although there was a dead horse in the field, dogs tied with no food or water around- their dishes were frozen into the ground, the one in the pen was covered in its own feces, there was no feces around the white dog – which probably means that it was eating its own feces to survive or wasn’t defacating at all. there was no protection from the weather except a dog house in poor state, no hay no door, these dogs are both short haired dogs obviously not meant to be outside all the time. Gem tried desperately to get water from the trough but only managed to leave her teeth imprints in the solid ice. The shed she had for shelter was falling apart both from disrepair and from the horses eating the wood and devouring the beams to try and fill their empty bellies.
    As far as the pictures go, they have the date printed on the back of them and we took pics of the 911 number posted in the front yard and made sure that the buildings were also in the background.
    I have noticed through the years that there are lots of grants and donations for the spca and they talk a real good talk but I also know that the administration team is very well paid and has had a few raises. How much of the money actually goes to the animals, is there a percentage for them?
    There were also many calls made prior to the date that was stated, as I was also a caller, like I said I can’t believe what the spca tries to pull over the eyes of the general public. There are many, many people who look after their animals very well that the spca will bother or check up on but where were they when they were needed? Can you answer this for me?

  40. Nora Barber · ·

    This story should be copy/paste on the Craiglist Pet section…to every city especially London.

  41. Connie

    If your laws state that animals must have access to water at all times….Where was the availability to water???? There wasn’t any….not even a slightly frozen water bucket or an empty one for that matter.
    You claim that the calls came to you and you reached out to the London Branch.
    That is a complete lie as the calls were directly made to London SPCA.

  42. The dogs and the duck are still there in the same agonizing situation.
    Anyone wishing the address?????? Someone should step up to the plate for them as well.
    Gem’s face is not ringworm, it is hair loss from being so full of worms.
    You claim that Gem’s face was being addressed….If so….What was done??NOTHING
    Was an order issued for a vet to look at Gem???NO
    We trimmed an inch and a half off of her hooves. Hell of a mess.
    Was a blacksmith ordered for Gem????NO
    You claim you responded on Dec. 9th Why were her feet not trimmed as of Jan. 1st
    Even though it was too late for Cocoa, I can’t fathom why NOTHING was done to ensure Gem and the other animals there were provided for.
    I was out there 3x and not once was there any signs of feed or water.
    Where was the hay for Gem?other than the neighbours hay over the fence.
    There wasn’t any. NONE
    Where was a water bucket other than a completely frozen trough?
    There wasn’t one.
    Horses are smart and the whole time I was there Gem kept chewing at the frozen trough trying desperately to get a drink, so if she was being provided water she should have not been doing that.

    Connie…..I was there you weren’t.
    I am the one who took the pictures, so don’t even try to say that those pictures could have come from anywhere. I also have pictures of the property with the fire # in them . Want to compare addresses?

    How about your Inspector standing in my barn not long ago over unwanted drop off cats, refusing to take them and telling me to stop feeding them and they will either starve or run away.
    How about the time one of your Agents stood here and asked me if I had a gun handy simply shoot a raccoon, just get rid of it. Didn’t matter how….Just get rid of it or pay a $2,500 fine for helping one.
    That’s for the animals, isn’t it?????
    What are your laws??? Feed animals or starve them?????

    That would be another story!!!!!

    1. Nora Barber · ·

      I know it was not ringworm! Yes! I would like the address to help these animals.

  43. Nora Barber · ·

    For those Ospca agents/officer (s) that are pursuing to the best of their abilities and normal. Do something to “MAKE CHANGES” so you can get rid of the paint. I could never work for the OSPCA…but then if I did, I have “no” doult that I would be fired. The paint is the thickest at the mgmt. level and it drips onto you because you are standing in it. The paint has always been there. It is only now that the public is being informed, being educated. Rescuers that do not wear a vest, do not get paid would have jumped thru fire to save these horses. If the Ospca had taken Cocoa “alive” and Gem, the horses fate would have become a secret. OSPCA would have called in the “EXPERTS” and we all know what they would determine! Such relief to know that Gem is not the property of the OSPCA. Missing hair on Gem’s Face could be ringworm..thats fatal! One lucky horse! Does anyone know the fate of the dogs and the duck?

  44. What the hell kind of system is this where a charity gets 26 million a year to prevent animal cruelty and now you expect the public to resort to hiring a bloody lawyer before even making a call for help?? they sit on their fat asses and do nothing but scan the internet all day making comments on blogs or issue another press release for more donations and maybe, just maybe answer a few phone messages! Pretty soon they won’t even have to answer any phones cause NOBODY will even make the call!! this is absolutely ludicrous!!!!!! every single one of their doners should be held accountable for supporting this total fraud!!! #@*&%## greedy heartless pigs!!!!!!

  45. Natalie · ·

    And I cannot emphasize this enough. Call from a cell phone each time you call about a cruelty case. That way, the agency will be hard pressed to argue that “there are no records” of the calls because you can obtain your cell phone statement which normally shows the number dialed and the length of the conversation.

    Animals are depending on us to be smart about how we go about trying to help them. Always always always try to do things in a way that will give you documentary evidence. Each time you call, record the conversation as well, but you should advise that the conversation is being recorded right at the outset. It would be interesting to see if the OSPCA then refuses to speak with you if you record the convo….

    Instead of emails, send faxes with fax confirmation sheets, send letters or materials by way of process servers who can swear an affidavit of service.

    Again, the animals are counting on us to be smart about the way we go about trying gto help them. There is no room for error here given the kind of OSPCA we are dealing with.

    And to the Chief Inspector, you ain’t foolin anybody. It is pretty clear that the OSPCA is either unwilling or unable to actually protect animals, and quite frankly, you have become a joke of an organization. Ontarians see right through your bull.

  46. Natalie · ·

    As a lawyer, I can tell you that you need to properly document your evidence or the OSPCA will continue getting away with allowing animals to suffer.

    As soon as you have stumbled on a case of cruelty, or what you believe may constitute cruelty, after placing a call to the humane society (from a cell phone, each time, so your cell phone records could be the proof) CALL A LAWYER and get some direction as to what and how to document and obtain good evidence.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached but i cannot due much because I was consulted too late and/or because the evidence obtained was not obtained propertlyl, documented properly, etc.

    It is heartbreaking.

    It is worth the consultation fee if we really care about animals to consult with a criminal lawyer (do your research and see who has experience or seems animal friendly). Some lawyers may not even charge you for a consultation, but honestly, isnt the $200 or $300 worth it if it means doing this right?

    Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, please contact me regardig Gem and Cocoa to discuss options. We could not do much for Chief but maybe this time will be different.

    1. Shelley from CHDC · ·

      HI Natalie – have you been in contact with the CHDC? You can reach us at info@defendhorsescanada.org. I tried to get specific phone records from the parties involved, but the calls to the LHS were local, and made from a land line. Is there any way to get call records for local calls?

  47. observer · ·

    O-spca is NOT a gov’t agency. O-spca has roughly 20 Branches in Ont. They also have roughly 35 ‘affiliates’ such as London Humane Society, Sarnia Humane Society, Hamilton spca, etc who can and do set their own rules and regulations. Affiliates all pay an annual Fee to the O-spca for the wonderful priveledge of having their own cruelty investigation powers. ALL Cruelty Inspectors-Agents working in all Branches and all their Affiliates fall under the sole jurisdiction of the O-spca rules and regulations. O-spca is a self-governed, registered, Charitable Organization, funded by public donations Corporate Sponsors and Donors. They also receive some Large Gov’t Grants and have also just been given Gov’t approval for the right to warrantless entry of some properties by their Inspectors-Agents.
    They are NOT a Gov’t Agency and therefore are not subject to the Freedom Of Information Act, and are accountable to no one (except those public donors and corporate sponsors..and their makers) Therefore unless the people who continue to pay the O-spca their big salaries, start speaking up and demanding some changes and some accountability from this whole organization, those running this whole show can, and will continue to say and do, or don’t say and don’t do whatever they damn well please.
    Bottom line is always about the power and the money, so those who give it to these ***** ******** can also take it away. No gov’t action needed.

  48. animlvr · ·

    I am appalled at this outcome, those horses deserved so much better. I appeal to all of the animal lovers out there, that the OSPCA officer (s) responsible for not pursuing this to the best of their abilities be immediately dismissed and/or held accountable for their actions as this is not the normal way that OSPCA officers conduct themselves. It is because of officers like this that the OSPCA gets a bad reputation – they all get painted with the same brush, and there are some decent officers out there, I have met some.

  49. It’s a sad fact that the public trusts the OSPCA to do the right thing. We sure made that mistake. The press release issued for Chief on November 3 stated unequivocally that the horse was in good health.
    That’s all the public wants to hear. Then they can sleep at night.
    Chief’s story was documented and recorded and pictured and dated and signed for, by the OSPCA. Nothing was done. Horse is in GOOD health! OSPCA says so.

    And since they are big government, people believe them.

  50. Wishfulthinking · ·

    When it comes to this organization I would just like to caution people to be careful what you wish for. On those rare occassions when they DO remove an animal from the premises, that’s most likely to be the last time you”ll ever see it again. And any inquiries from that moment on will go completely unanswered due to “Confidentiality of an ongoing investigation”……forever.
    Unfortunately for animals, all the public outrage each time one of these tragic stories surfaces has no effect at all on how these people operate and they still seem to con people to continue supporting them.
    My wish would be for rescue groups to be called at the very first signs of animals in distress and chances are the animals will be saved asap. Then reward those groups with your donations rather than fund people who do absolutely nothing to help…..wishful thinking I know

  51. Nora Barber · ·

    Liz -The-Bat…I applaud You!!

  52. Liz-the-Bat · ·

    Does anyone want to start a shadow, watchdog society to watch (help) the watchdogs?

    Old saying: “If you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

    I just want to say….unless you’ve worked in the law….you have no idea what the test of law is, that’s why I tried to tell you. Document, Document, Document!!!! Tape, send certified letters, back your allegations up with dated pictures and pursue the supposed keepers of the law, with the law itself. In the end, it empowers them to attack and do their jobs to the “full letter of the law”, at the LEAST, IT HELPS THEM DECIDE WHERE THEIR ASSETS ARE TO BE ALLOCATED. Yeah, same old, same old; dollars and cents….

    Like I said before, I’ll never make the mistake again of believing that my phone call will start an investigation. Or, that my follow-up phone calls will result in any response. (Remember: “We have no record.”!!!) However, I do know that if I threaten to go to the Free Press and put it on the internet, I will get a call back.

    In the future, I’ll treat the LHS as a hostile witness, and I’ll bring them “the ink”, and I’ll push for an outcome. I’ll compile what I’m able to prove in court as my allegation, knowing that the test of law is due diligence (for the animal owner and for the Humane Society – OH, AND FOR ME.) Emotion, rage, umbrage, it is nothing compared to good paperwork (AND THE FREE PRESS). Hasn’t this situation proved that to any of you?

    Only people, banded together, working for animal safety within the law’s guideline will have any effect on the outcome of neglect….OH, WAIT A MINUTE, YEAH, THAT THE HUMANE SOCIETY, ISN’T IT……. SHIT, THOUGHT I HAD SOMETHING THERE.

  53. Liz-the-Bat · ·

    In response to the comments by Chief Inspector Connie Mallory Ontario SPCA.
    Do the other bloggers get what the Chief Inspector is saying? Really she’s saying two main things. YOU CAN’T PROVE IT. YOU ARE UNBELIEVABLE.
    a). That she has no evidence pro/con regarding these horses prior to December 9.
    b). That there is no official “recorded” complaint prior to December 9. “The London Humane Society has NO records of any calls made before December 9, 2010.”
    c). That the public is less believable than her trained staff.
    d) Unless you bring a better game complete with a highly detailed complaint process with numerous witnesses, preferably trained equine specialists, with exhibit grade photographs, with sworn depositions and an unbroken chain of evidence SHE has no knowledge of you.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, she is just swatting you like flies. If any of us are truly dedicated to the proposition that these animals should rate her kind consideration, she’s told you how to get her attention. Band together, create a team of observers in each county that can be called to attend and witness and document allegations of abuse. Then bind all your evidence in a attractive legal looking document and have it served on her by a process server, then, and only then will you have her attention.
    She will not be able to:
    a). Say she has no evidence pro/con regarding these future complaints. It will be detailed in writing with the sworn deposition of witnesses, both common and specialists.
    b). That she has no official record of these complaints. Documented and served upon her and her staff, she will INDEED have a RECORD of complaints.
    c). She will have evidence that you ARE AS BELIEVABLE AS HER TRAINED STAFF. Because her “trained staff” won’t be able to deny your existence, and won’t be able to dismiss your sworn statements, exhibits, and expert, equine special witnesses.
    d). That you got the message loud and clear from THIS EVENT, and are taking her advice and bringing a better, irrefutable, very legal, game.
    The advice to speak softly but bring a big stick really does apply.
    If you keep doing the same thing over and over and get the same response every time, why keep doing it that way. It’s madness. Do it by the Chief Inspector’s rules and CHANGE THE OUTCOME, at the very least, MAKE HER ACCOUNTABLE!! Oh, yes, and tape record the complaints you do phone in, and keep a log of the dates, because it is just sleight-of-hand to dump the messages and say they never existed.

  54. Jen pretty · ·

    I would ask everyone who has interest in this case to start emailing their local newspapers.

    1. TIC TOC, TIC TOC...OSPCA · ·

      I am sure there have been many attemps to put this in the newspapers. I have attempted, several times! Has anyone viewed anything about this tragedy in Ontario…Canada, Anywhere? I guess they are only aloud or only willing to report good things about the Ospca here in Ontario, Nationwide! Does this have something to do with Godfrey’s family connection with the media!? The tragic story of the sled dogs has gone int’l and the world has responded with outrage. Once again the “O”spca/”BC”Spca is trying to shed resonsibility. They are the ones that could have/should have prevented both of these trageies.
      Because of “PAST AND PRESENT…ONGOING MULTIPLE CONCERNS” I have been compiling, documenting..documenting with due diligence with good reason.
      This urgently “NEEDS” to be “EXPOSED” by all media to the public!

  55. Nora Barber · ·

    Do you really expect any clarification or any reply. Did you see the credit they tried to take for the mile 26 dogs?

  56. Bill Duncan · ·

    Connie …..” Animals must have access to water at all times; however, in the winter there is some expectation that the water will freeze. This was not the case during the London Humane Society’s visits to the farm. ”

    Just what does this mean; that there was an adequate supply of unfrozen water at the time of inspection?

    Connie….”The horse was removed from the property on January 1, 2011.”
    By the SPCA or an unassociated individual?

    Thank you for any clarification.

  57. Nora Barber · ·

    In reponse to your comment Connie: You said…nothing was mentioned about the very thin dogs left outside 24/7 with no food or water and one duck locked in a cage with no fresh water …Your claim is that your agents are “trained to make observation about distress, environment and the general well being of any of the other animals on the property” That means Connie the dogs and the ducks were not observed because they were not mentioned?!!! OMG!!! And you say this blog is unreliable for reporting inacurate information. And you are saying these photos are inaccurate…they say it all Connie!

  58. Sarah Wilkins · ·

    And another one slips through the cracks… Way to go OSPCA!

  59. Shelley from CHDC · ·

    “A” Channel has posted the link to their film of Cocoa.
    The LHS has given their explanation – is it good enough?
    They don’t seem too worried to me, like they’ve done enough.

  60. Has anything been done about the dogs? I know of a home who would take them instantly. Does anyone know who we can get in contact with over the dogs?

    1. Shelley from CHDC · ·

      I’ve been advised that the dogs are no longer seen at the property. The neighbours did not see the LHS remove them, so we’re not sure under what circumstances they are gone now.

  61. “If you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately.”.
    They did. It was the timely actions exhibited by the OSPCA that allowed that mare to starve. Did you notice the dog, BTW? No-one reported it, so you won’t?
    Connie, you repeat again “If you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately.”
    I repeat, They DID.
    What is it about the English language that becomes unclear with neglect cases?
    The animal is dead, at long last its’ suffering finally over. But hey, it’s ONLY neglect. At least the animal wasn’t beaten to death, or tortured or burning down in a house with 299 animals crammed in beside it. Good catch, there, too, Connie. Nice to read that firefighters were falling over choking from the stench of that house.

    If I hear “Well, it could be worse” or this one, which also floors me “At least a child wasn’t harmed” from ONE more ..
    OF COURSE it could be WORSE. That wasn’t the point. The point is, another animal dies of neglect. This was the mare’s ultimate worse, but it takes so long, people lose interest. Unless a child were to see the dead mare in the field, who will care?
    Such civilized heights we’ve lowered ourselves to. It just happens all the time, no big deal. Not a child…

    Heaven help the animals. The children too, with this example of compassion towards our domesticated creatures.
    Right, we don’t HAVE any, I forgot. Put ’em in a box, and forget them. no big deal.
    JustAnAnimal. Buy ’em at the pet store, right? Sell them in the paper!

    Neglect is legal, I surmise from the above. Neglect is not cruelty. Report cruelty, ignore neglect. It’s not cruel enough I guess..
    RIP little bay mares.

  62. Chief Connie Mallory, In reading your rebuttal, I am seeing the same rhetoric as always. The constant reminder that the London Humane society did not receive a call until Dec09″As these horses were housed in London, Ontario, the Ontario SPCA reached out to the London Humane Society” I guess my question would be when did YOU receive the first call, and how long did it take to pass it off to another agency. As I understand it OSPCA stands for ONTARIO SPCA , Suggesting province wide coverage. If continued concerns were being voiced, why was there no additional follow up. As far as the photos being dated , It strikes me the photos of Appalachian Chief were in fact dated, as were the letters of concern many of which received no response or acknowledgement of receipt .
    Your question of a veterinary examination by the rescue group, to prove the horse was in fact in distress, I would respond , was there a veterinary exam done by a reputable veterinarian , prior to the horses removal ? By the Humane society or the OSPCA, how did this situation escalate to one dead horse and one sadly neglected horse under your current guidelines. Please do not respond with platitudes and repeated rhetoric about timelines. The pictures, speak for themselves , you are not arguing in either of the recent situations that the horses are not those depicted, so regardless of the time line ,be it 1 week to 10 days difference , the horses were clearly in distress, and more appropriate action needed to be taken

  63. Claire Sutherland · ·

    To Chief Connie Mallory,

    If indeed as per your FACT, investigators went out to property on December 9, 2010, why on earth did it take until 1 horse was dead, and until Jan 1 to have the other “walking skeleton” named Gem removed from the property?

    I sure hope this moron is going to be facing charges. But, I am also thinking he certainly isn’t the only one at fault here.

    And, I have also called SPCA…..Guelph, in fact on a particular incident before and was repeatedly lied to, being told that those horses were fine and being fed. NOT! I am certainly glad I persisted, as it was finally attended to. Could have been another situation such as this.

    Those who failed Cocoa, ought to be ashamed.

  64. Why, Connie, how nice of you to respond!

    What about the inaccuracies YOU reported regarding the Chief case?
    What about your own inactions and blatant lies regarding this horse?

    Chief was/is fine, because YOU say so.
    Sorry, there is no reason to believe anything you say, anymore. The pictures posted re: Chief, by this blog, that YOU said were “several MONTHS” old, were taken in October/November. YOU said he was FINE in your press release dated November 3.
    Then, when he was finally moved, YOU said, on Dec. 22 “He’s doing much better now.” Better than WHAT? I thought YOU said he was fine, and in good health, as of November 3, 2010.
    And YOU said the owner of Chief complied with all orders given.
    Explain to me again, why you have to order people to feed/water/muck their animals properly, when they are EXPERIENCED so-called horse people that have worked in the industry for years..

    Keep backing the wrong people, Connie. It was the OSPCA’s choice to assert that Chief’s care was fine, after your “repeated” visits. Try not to warn the owner you’re coming, just for future reference. How much did Chief’s owner pay you guys to go away, I wonder.

    Ask OSPCA truth for the pictures, they will ALL have the date built into them. Look at ALL of the pictures given to you on August 9, 2010. I assume you never did.

    Ask any vet with a brain, not the shills that YOU pay to say the animal is fine.

    Horses’ hooves do not get that way in a short time, btw.
    PLEASE, learn something about the animals YOU are supposed to care for and protect from cruelty and neglect. And learn to wash your damned hands, so that ringworm doesn’t close the shelter down permanently, it seems.
    You do a great job of whitewashing. TRY telling the truth, for a change.
    You might sleep better.

  65. Jay McKillop · ·

    Ms. Mallory, your response is painfully thin. If the “neighbours” were concerned enough to provide hay continuously, I tend to believe their version over yours. Are you saying the LHS resonded on December 9th but did nothing to rectify the situation? Being a farm owner for many years, I find it VERY difficult to believe the water was NOT frozen over on December 9th. Without a stock tank heater (certainly none pictured) this information provided by you is highly suspect.

    Charges of cruelty SHOULD be laid and then perhaps the OSPCA and the LHS should be investigated further. Shameful set of circumstances. Your response appears to be more along the line of defense rather than fact.

    Jay McKillop
    London, Ontario

  66. It’s a case of he said, she said.

    It is very easy to dispute the occurance of a phone call since no records are made and, if they are it is a simple matter to remove them. As for the accuracy of the dates, in cases such as this it has been proven many times in criminal investigations that people err on dates.

    What is at issue here is not whether the dates are exact but more importantly that animals died and others could easily have. The OSPCA has a history of inappropriate behaviour when handling cases of animal abuse as do the regional humane societies. It is a sad statement when an organization such as the OSPCA is more interested in having directors appear on television claiming they were unaware of the facts. Or to place a response on this blog attempting to exonerate itself from any responsibility.

    The issue is not who but why? Why did this happen? Surely ANY intelligent person with half an interest in the well being of animals would have been able to see that something untoward was happening or about to happen. ARE THEY BLIND or ARE THEY SIMPLY BRAIN DEAD.

    Changes need to be made to the mandate and regulations surrounding the OSPCA and the regional humane societies. There should be no need for animal rescue centres run by truly devoted and dedicated individuals that really care about the welfare of animals.

    And finally, could it possibly be that the Connie Mallory who posted the OSPCA’s response may not have the facts as they occurred. I wonder…

    If nothing else let’s change the system in memory of Cocoa and Gem and all the other animals that the OSPCA and regional humane societies may have forgotten…

  67. Chief Connie Mallory, Ontario SPCA · ·

    Concerning inaccuracies in the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s blog about “Cocoa” and “Gem”

    The Ontario SPCA has received numerous concerns about this unreliable blog article profiling two horses “Cocoa” and “Gem”. As these horses were housed in London, Ontario, the Ontario SPCA reached out to the London Humane Society, who is in charge of responding to animal cruelty complaints in that region and was provided with the facts of the situation.
    This is not the first time this blogger has provided inaccurate information and photos to the public. If you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately.
    The Ontario SPCA is concerned because as graphic and horrific as these images are, they cannot be submitted as evidence in a court of law because they are neither dated nor do they make any reference to where the images were taken.
    The Ontario SPCA reminds the public that if you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately. We are then able to respond appropriately and in a timely manner. In your report provide as many details as possible, including the type of cruelty witnessed, the date of the incident, where it took place, and who was involved. All information remains confidential.

    Chief Inspector
    Connie Mallory
    Ontario SPCA

    Contact Information:
    London Humane Society
    624 Clarke Road
    London, ON N5V 3K5

    Below is a step-by-step de-construction of the said blog, endeavouring to set the record straight and provide accurate information pertaining to the situation of the horses, “Cocoa” and “Gem”.
    Ontario SPCA answers after bullet points.

    “The neighbours that tried to help first noticed that things were going very wrong in November 2010.”
    o The first call regarding this complaint was received by the London Humane Society on December 9, 2010. Agents attended the site that same day.

    “Because of their concern for Gem and Cocoa the neighbours began making calls to the London Humane Society (LHS) on December 5th.”
    o Inaccurate. The first complaint was received on December 9, 2010; the complainant stated that they were concerned for a skinny horse they had been monitoring throughout November, 2010. The London Humane Society has NO records of any calls made before December 9, 2010.

    “Tragically, Cocoa froze to death in the snowstorm that night in the same spot she had laid for days. They called and left more messages, never once getting someone live on the phone at the London Humane Society.”
    o Inaccurate. There are no records of any calls made before December 9, 2010.

    “Finally after nine days, the London Humane Society responded on December 14, 2010.”
    o Inaccurate. The London Humane Society responded on December 9th, 2010.

    “They said that they could do nothing about the dead horse but said they would take the other horse to foster care at another farm, to keep feeding Gem over the fence and they would inform them when to stop feeding.”
    o Fact: Neither the London Humane Society or the Ontario SPCA have jurisdiction over deceased animals and their removal. This Act is monitored by the Ministry of Environment.
    o Inaccurate. The neighbours were not asked to continue to feed the remaining horse.

    The horse’s owner gave the following details:
    “*no orders were issued to provide food or water (the only source of water was a completely frozen water trough, pictured here).”
    o Fact: Animals must have access to water at all times; however, in the winter there is some expectation that the water will freeze. This was not the case during the London Humane Society’s visits to the farm.

    “*no orders were issued to have the dead horse removed (Cocoa’s body had lain there for 7 weeks).”
    o Fact: Only the Ministry of Environment has jurisdiction in this situation.

    “*no orders were issued to have Gem’s hooves trimmed.”
    o Fact: The concern for the horse’s hooves did not become an issue until December 30, 2010. The horse was removed from the property on January 1, 2011.

    “*no orders were given to address the hair loss on Gem’s face or to have a vet check her.”
    o Fact: The fur loss concerns on Gem’s face are being addressed.

    “*nothing was mentioned about the very thin dogs left outside 24/7 with no food or water and one duck locked in a cage with no fresh water.”
    o Fact: The dogs were never part of the initial concern and have only been brought up since the horses were removed.

    “The only instructions given were for the neighbours to keep feeding the remaining horse and to keep monitoring the situation. No orders for the owner of the animals – only for the neighbours trying to help!”
    o Inaccurate. The neighbours were not “ordered” to continue feeding the remaining horse.

    “A small group of Gem’s fans pooled together and now she is in a brand new roomy box stall with straw up to her knees, good quality hay and fresh water. She is finally showing signs of renewed life, after an aggressive deworming program, good hay, grain, shelter and rest.”
    o Fact: The blogger never mentions a veterinarian examining the horse and what the subsequent findings were. It is a veterinarian who properly documents the medical findings that demonstrate whether an animal is in distress; and it is a veterinarian’s report which becomes the basis of animal cruelty charges being laid.

    1. Cathleena Turner · ·

      Thank you Chief Inspector for letting people know that there is always another side to a story. Documented facts are not quite as emotional as a good story though, are they?
      Again, thank you for telling people to report their concerns immediately, not waiting until the following month to call for aid.

      1. observer · ·

        Documented facts? or a good story? Documented facts here prove that a Fully Trained Agent (altho Ms Mallory has just kindly informed us all that “agents” PLURAL) paid a visit to this property on Dec 9. What Ms Mallory does NOT mention is whether that ‘Skinny horse’ cocoa they were looking for was alive and standing? or lying down in the snow still gasping for air? or dead? So if it was still alive, standing or lying dying, what did they do for it? And if it was dead why did THEY not inform the Min of Environment and kindly ask for her removal?
        As for the frozen water trough that Ms Mallory states was not the case when agents saw it, what about no apparent food visible? (just trees shred bare!) and there is not one mention whatsoever from Ms Mallory of a single other animal on the premises? So did her agents notice them or not? hmmm, well let’s try and figure that part out–She kindly points out again that her agents did not ORDER the neighbours to keep feeding Gem. That translates that they DID see another animal and informed the neighbours they would be locating a foster place for her, so why should we doubt that they also said keep throwing food over? hmmm Ms Mallory also states that Gem’s hooves did not become an issue til Dec 30 and Gem was finally removed Jan 1st by a rescue who was contacted by strangers, not ospca. Yet those fully trained agents never mentioned her hooves or face or apparent lack of food and just left her there since Dec 9th waiting for? a foster to be located? hmmm how long does it take to make some phone calls to rescue an animal in desperate need?
        For the benefit of the doubt we’ll have to assume the dogs and duck were so silent and hidden from sight that those fully trained agents were unable to locat them during their search of the property 🙂 As for the vet examining the horse–which horse? the dead one? or the one still holding on and standing…waiting… to be rescued? Please do let us know the name of that vet who gets to determine whether all these animals were in distress or not! Please do ‘set the record straight here’ and provide us all with more of your accurate information! Thanks much.

    2. In other words…you are saying that upon your inspection of that property you found NOTHING wrong…..RIGHT!!!!!!!

  68. Liz-the-bat · ·

    The Criminal Code of Canada, (Martin’s 2001)
    446. (1) Every one commits an offence who
    (a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;
    (b) by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed;
    (c) being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal or a bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is in captivity, abandons it in distress or wilfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it;
    446 (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
    446 (3) For the purposes of proceedings under paragraph (1)(a) or (b), evidence that a person failed to exercise reasonable care or supervision of an animal or a bird thereby causing it pain, suffering, damage or injury is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the pain, suffering, damage or injury was caused or was permitted to be caused wilfully or was caused by wilful neglect, as the case may be.
    446 (5) Where an accused is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the court may, in addition to any other sentence that may be imposed for the offence, make an order prohibiting the accused from owning or having the custody or control of an animal or bird during any period not exceeding two years.
    446 (6) Every one who owns or has the custody or control of an animal or a bird while he is prohibited from doing so by reason of an order made under subsection (5) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. R.S., c. C-34, s. 402; 1974-75-76, c. 93, s. 35.

    All other red herrings aside, this IS THE LAW. The law doesn’t speak in terms of getting even or of breaking fences or of horse thievery. THE LAW puts the onus on the owner and on the police (and the Humane Society who is charged with the oversight of animal matters in the City of London.) No matter what their investigators say or how they minimize the damage by the owner, THIS IS THE LAW. It is the law that all parties must abide by for we live in a democratic and civilized society. Everyone gets their day in court.

    Now, the difficulty is getting them into court and that requires documentation. It requires a cool head and consistent pressure. Document, document, document. Rage against the evil, BUT WIN. Put some muscle behind the issue by documenting the abuse and the abusers AND turn in the investigators who don’t/won’t do their jobs.

    I nearly puked when I watched the T.V. news last night and saw the head of the Humane Society piously mouthing how their hands are tied when people don’t report abuse. Don’t just phone in the report. Send it in email and fax and registered mail and delivery service with signature. It’s easy to say, “we didn’t know” when there is no paper trail. I called repeatedly. I’ll never make that mistake again. I’ll nail the issue in ink.

    Call and organize locally. Get together, make multiple reports of abuse. Make noise. Don’t let the complaint cool. Demand Action. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease. And get the press on side. Take pictures, go viral. Shame the powers into action, and take it to the voting floor. Make it the reason someone gets elected or gets ousted.

    Do not break the law. The penalties for you trespassing or rescuing are greater than the owner who is abusing the animal. The owner will get off, you’ll get nailed. There’s less paperwork shutting you up than if they go after the bad guy, it’s the course of least resistance.

    And, yes, the law needs to be changed. SO CHANGE IT. IT’S WITHIN YOUR POWER.

    LET’S FACE IT, YOU DON’T WANT TO FACE A BULLET CHASING SOME ABUSER DOWN, DO YOU? SO WHY SEND AN UNARMED MAN OUT TO FACE AN ARMED AND DANGEROUS PERSON WHO HAS ALREADY PROVEN HE/SHE HAS NO RESPECT FOR LIFE….anyone’s life. Send an armed officer(s) into a volatile situation, not a pencil pusher with a mouth full of excuses who refuses to answer his phone.

    I can be as angry and frustrated as I have been over these two horses on Hwy#2 or agonizing over the death of Cocco, BUT, I believe in the law. There is strength in numbers. If you see abuse, get another set of eyes on it. Get another witness, take pictures, document and refuse to take “no” for an answer.

    P.S., Everyone has trouble meeting their bills these days…sometimes it is better to fund horse owners by supplementing their food needs in hard times, instead of hitting them over the head with fines and legal fees. Maybe opening a dialogue about an emergency fund for strapped owners might help. Oh, one more thing, I keep seeing people offering their horses for free in ads. Life is tough out there, that’s why the animals are suffering, primarily, at least. And, yes, the rest are just evil bullshit artists who get a kick out of torturing things. They need to go DOWN.

  69. I have sent the following to CNN this morning in the hope that it will spark some curiosity and ultimately cause an investigation into the events is London.

    Yesterday a friend of mine posted a story and link on Facebook that made my blood boil. It’s a story about some horses. Not important horses just horses. What was important about this story was how it and the subsequent posts on the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s blog detail the events that occurred on a farm outside London, Ontario. It matters not whether you’re a horse lover or not what matters is how the information revealed that the local Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the London Humane Society failed in carrying out their mandate. The information has raised the ire of hundreds of animal lovers and questions the functioning of the two organizations mentioned. If nothing else the blog deserves a read and, should you feel, as hundreds do, that the way these animals have been treated inhumanely then make it deserves further investigation. Maybe by CNN drawing attention to the events might just force two inept organizations and a uncaring farmer to be investigated and appropriate actions taken to prevent this from happening again. Hopefully CNN will have a close look at this.

    The link to the thread on the blog is:

  70. Appy Chick · ·

    … this is the first time I had the sad chance to read over this story. First I would like to say that there is sometimes happier endings … I called the humane society on a farm 2 winters ago …as I was driving to work at 7am and it was minus 35 outside…I always saw these horses outside & had been all night …no blankets no shelter. The humane society truck was there on my home that night. Blankets were on and a shelter went up. BUT what I can not get over is why has the “owner” not been dealt with ?? And he laughs things off ?? He needs to be put outside for 2 days without any food – running water or cloths and see how he likes it !! I am tired of all the people that do the wrong …screaming but I have rights … Cocoa had rights and he took those away.

    How much is a flipping bail of hay?… 2 extra large coffes and bagel at Tim Hortons ?? So you can’t get a bail a hay every 2 days BUT you sure can have your coffee …smokes … beer? All thoses horse wanted was a flake of hay and bucket a water. I hope this mans suffers one day like Cocoa did !! and I beleive in karma so that day will come.

  71. Elizabeth Jones · ·

    I agree with Susan P. above. If you see abuse, know about it and do nothing you are as much at fault as the man who owned the horses. If my calls to this supposed SPCA had gone unanswered for even a week, I would have cut the fence and taken the horses to safety. I would loved for them to come arrest me – I would have made an international case out of it so the whole world would know how corrupt the OSPCA is. If they are taking donations for animal rescue and care and they are an agency of the government – that my friend would be a conflict of interest. I do not believe you can be a government agency and a Charitable Organization who takes donations. They would also have a duty to see that the money was spent on the rescue and care of the animals they rescue.

  72. Liz-the-bat · ·

    These weren’t the horses that I reported, but….read on!!!!
    Was this the same London Human Society rep who told me he couldn’t do anything? I called twice, once at the beginning of December and once around the 20th. The first time, I received no reply, even though they say in their message that they will reply within 24 hours. The second time I was obviously threatening to go viral with the two poor horses on Hwy #2, just outside London. I got a tepid response.
    I was driving a friend to work…all kinds of weather…snowstorms where I couldn’t see 30 feet in front of the car. The O.P.P. were telling everyone to stay off the road, especially Hwy#2. No one should have been out, least of all these two poor horses. No shelter…their supposed run-in faced the west. The prevailing winds in North American are west to east, so it’s useless for protection. The whole west side faces out into the storm. No food in evidence. I had no idea who they belonged to, but, the cop I talked to going home one day said, yeah….if it’s the same people, we’ve been there before.
    Okay, so I call the London Humane Society. I reported these animals who were covered…I mean, not moving…covered to three- or four-inches deep in snow, in the middle of the worst winter on record….standing hopefully (prayerfully) by the fence….hopefully, desperately, next to the parking lot….hopefully, waiting for someone to give a damn!
    I finally turned in at the business that flanks their field, and I climb over the unmarked, untrodden snow….GET IT? I find their water barrel frozen to the bottom. I tried with all my force to break it…tried to give them water. It was impossible. It was frozen two feet deep. I had apples in my car and carrots…hey, I’m city folk, I don’t keep hay in my kitchen….I brought what I had.
    These poor horses were numb…almost unresponsive. The larger one took some apples and carrots easily, the little one didn’t seem able to open its mouth. NO WONDER, BECAUSE I’D TOLD THE L.H.S. INSPECTOR THAT THEY HAD STRIPPED THE TREES BORDERING THEIR COMPOUND, OF EVERY INCH OF BARK THAT THEY COULD REACH. !!!!!! My, God. My, God. Do you know what he told me? He told me that they were “bored”, not hungry…just “bored.”
    Colour me stupid city folk, but even I know better. You strip bark when you are starving. Now, they didn’t look overtly starving, but…dull, unresponsive, the larger one was desperately searching any car that came in the parking lot. It ripped at my heart.
    We returned several times in December bringing what food and water we could. The abuse rep from L.H.S., finally…after a long and pushy argument from me, said, “Okay, I’ll go and have a look.” I wouldn’t let him off that easy. When he reported back to me (at my insistence!) he told me all was well, I didn’t understand, and the owners were baffled why I hadn’t spoken to them directly. Oh, yes, he’d talked to the vet, they’d been seen too, and treated for worms and, yes, even that one of them was overweight and on a special diet. Yeah, it was the “see no food, eat no food, diet.” Boo Hoo! Poor Owners. How embarrassing.
    I brought them water and put it out for them. I brought them what I could while I tried to determine what I could do. My mistake, I didn’t send the letter that I wrote to the London Free Press asking them to spring into action. I sent it to my family and friends asking for their input.
    When I heard this story today. I went nuts. Were these the two horses I had tried to save? No…the dates were off. The last time I fed and watered them was New Year’s Day. They were not dead, and someone had finally given them hay and had brought two pails of water. We filled our barrel that we had brought and we gave them some food, and left.
    That was the last day that I traveled Hwy#2. My schedule changed and I haven’t been out all January. My husband drove out tonight and checked the paddock, both horses are gone. (At least not visible in the darkness.)
    I pray to God Almighty that somewhere these two innocents have found shelter, either here or in a kinder heaven. If I had had the means, I would have rescued them from their miserable existence. Do you know why they were kept? I do. There was a little machine you could put money into to obtain “horse treats.” They were a lure during the better weather….a lure to draw in tourists to the business that bordered their paddock.
    May God have more mercy on these owners than they had on their poor, mistreated, animals. May their business interests prosper to the same extent that they provide for their animals. As for the London Humane Society….like the abuse rep said, “Some driveways, I don’t feel safe going down.” And, my reply, “That’s why we have a long-gun registry.” He’s afraid to face these petulant owners. He’s afraid for his safety, hence his reluctance to pursue abuse allegations. In his defense, that’s why I didn’t go to the business’ door. If they treat horses this way, how are they going to treat me….? It begs the question, doesn’t it.

  73. A bit of an update that I know…

    I was helping the reporter and she wrote back saying she went out to see Gem and that she is a loving, sweet, and good-natured mare.
    Saveahorse.ca, Brenda Hull, has also been in touch and reports that Gem is very happy to have a clean, warm stall, and good food, grain, and a blanket.
    Rein will keep checking in with Gem and we’re working on a way to get her more food to help the rescue. Brenda explained that she’s needing double the amount of food needed just to put any weight on.

    Gem, not all people are like the ones who let you and Cocoa down.

  74. Diane Symons · ·

    Bots come from flies eggs and who knows where the fly has been 🙂 enjoy kill and enjoy

  75. Diane Symons · ·

    If you know of abuse, see abuse, hear about abuse and do nothing about it YOU are also an abuser. To sit back and watch this happen is the worse abuse ever. So all are abusers. The poor horses were being eaten from within by worms, bots, they attach to the horses stomachs and eat it away. The eggs are in the grass little white dots right above their hoofs. You need to take them off while grooming or bots will form. For all the people who love HORSE MEAT you eat bots and the eggs are in their meat. If a horse left un wormed then sent to slaughter lots of diseases. Bots can form in a humans stomach or anywhere. It hides under the skin. Cattle are given different type of care to avoid all the problems horses can endure. One man had a bot under his skin on his stomach he watched it move around finally on day it showed it’s ugly head and they are ugly. A doctor had to remove it. Feed your child lots and lots of horse meat. This is what you feed them….http://www.extension.org/pages/Stomach_bots_in_horseshttp://www.extension.org/pages/Stomach_bots_in_horses

  76. I was made aware of this tragedy through a Facebook posting by a friend of mine. As an equine photographer I have had occasion to photograph all manner of horses from the wild horses in Alberta whose plight it not exactly the same as the situation described but they are poached upon freely and, there are no laws to protect them. Legislators in Alberta suffer the same malady as those in Ontario The malaise is an attitude of if it’s distasteful turn a blind eye to it. I have visited a number of animal rescue shelters in Ontario and have seen and photographed the miracle of what love and tender care can accomplish to bring back not only equines but other animals from the brink. If the detached managers at the OSPCA had used a modicum of sense, which they probably lack, they could easily have contacted a rescue centre and they, the rescue centre, would have shown the compassion, that the OSPCA didn’t, and taken the horses in.

    I don’t fault the volunteers nor the employees of the OSPCA but I direct the blame at the management, the board of governors and the politicians. It is mostly the politicians. They are ineffective in dealing with any issue that is distasteful to them. They lack the spine to address, no attack, those that take a l’aisse faire attitude to situations like this. It’s easier to simply collect a pay cheque and not stir the pond.

    Their attitude of “if it doesn’t impact me directly who cares” is typical.

    It is time for, not just horse lovers but, all animal lovers to standup and DEMAND that Mr. McGinty and his spineless minions note this tragedy and take a pledge that it will never happen again to another horse nor another cat, or dog or any animal.

    Common Mr.Premier take a stand make it happen.

  77. Catherine · ·

    THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!!! This guy should be put in jail.

  78. Sorry, Nancy, but this comment “at least the OSPCA does have standards of care in their facilities” made me very sad. You did hear about the ringworm problem at the Newmarket shelter? The shelter that seems to have closed to the public, permanently?

    Their standards must have been fairly lax, to allow the ringworm to become such a large issue.
    Animal care workers should be well-trained. They are paid next to nothing. That’s wrong.

  79. Jean, it is because of our privacy laws, and our judicial system says everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
    I will repeat, I do not doubt that SPCA’s have a helluva job to do. But when they blatantly lie to their supporters, and ignore obvious neglect, calling it suitable and adequate, when any thinking person can see it is not, what else can one do, but withdraw support? My family has donated to the OSPCA for over 40 years. We had to stop our donations, as we annot support a mandate that says that obvious animal neglect/abuse is legal.
    It is not, according to the law. At least, as far as I know, English being my first language and all.
    I would far rather support the “little” rescue organizations now.
    The OSPCA is paid with our tax dollars. The big-wigs at the OSPCA make a lot of money. They do not deserve further support, until they start being accountable for their actions, to the public that pays for their work.

    Yes, I know the economic downturn has hurt everyone, including the charitable organizations. The OSPCA is only a charity in name.
    They are part of our government.

  80. Shelley from CHDC · ·

    “A” Channel out of London is covering this story and should be on the 6:00 news tonight: http://www.atv.ca/london/news.aspx

    They’ve visited Gem and are following up with the LHS this afternoon. I’ll post the link here after it airs. Looking forward to hearing the Humane Society’s “explanation”.

    1. Elizabeth Jones · ·

      How about getting this Londan station to send a copy of thier report to CNN here in the US so that everyone in the world will know what happened to Cocoa and Gem. If it had been me as a neighbor, I would not have stood by and waited for months for the horses to starve to death and for one of them to die. I am afraid I would have cut the fence or broken it down and taken the horses to safety. Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do! No excuses for horses to suffer and die like Cocoa and Gem – God Bless them.

  81. What I do not understand in horrific cases of abuse and neglect such as this, why is the name of the owner not published in the article? If all the neighbours know his name, why isn’t it in this article?

  82. Even more disgusting is that no charges were filed and this owner could do this again to more animals. The OSPCA totally failed these neglected animals, and it sounds like this happens frequently. The U.S. is certainly not immune to this kind of system failure, though for an investigator to be on the property and NOT issue citations is beyond me. I hope Ontario is successful in putting a better authority in place that can and will act. Sounds like the city needs a “Cocoa’s law”, too or perhaps the entire province to make this kind of abuse come with severe penalties. I live in Kansas in the U.S. and our state took four years, but finally passed legislation making abuse and/or neglect a felony crime. We still have a way to go so that the law is applied to its full extent, but we’re getting there. The OSPCA sounds like it has no business saying it is a SPCA. Poor girl. It’s a horrible, painful way to die.

  83. I would like to add that as we watch bills in the U.S. threatening shelters with criminal charges if they do not take in and deal with any horse or horses presented to them…we have to remind ourselves that animal welfare organizations are under threat from all sides these days…more and more neglect and abuse, more dumping of unwanted animals, more surrenders, more and more animals all the time needing help and sanctuary, the economy making it tougher to raise funds to keep shelters operating, no oversight to make sure shelters are humane and doing a good job, because some of them do not. We have to perhaps try and fix what is wrong with the OSPCA and with the Animal Welfare laws in Canada and have some oversight that shelters and rescues and people who call themselves those things are really helping and humane…at least the OSPCA does have standards of care in their facilities…and the front line shelter workers bear the brunt of what our society is doing to animals…and it isn’t good. I am not ever going to defend what happened to these horses…the OSPCA should have been there first thing and removed the animals and charged the owner…but I am not ready to give up on an organization that contains the people I work with …some of the best folks you could find. I would like to see a better organization and a better attitude in our society..too many of whom still think of animals as disposable. I deal with some of those animals every day. They deserve much better from all of us.

  84. I am sorry…I would have taken them from that man…I have before and I will again..I would have just cut the wire and taken them to safety..I am a HUGE loudmouth and I won’t stand for any of that b.s that the owner gave or the authorities….

  85. There are a lot of things going on here…the OSPCA Affiliates do not operate under the same rules as the actual branches of the Society..that may have something to do with it..it may have something to do with the terrible management at some of the Affiliates, where infighting and power struggles seem to take precedence over the welfare of the animals…it may have something to do with lack of better animal welfare laws…it may have to do with lack of training and it may have to do with how frantically busy the agents are dealing with the mounds of paperwork that accompany every case they deal with. That being said…there is no excuse for something like this happening and I am sickened and saddened by it. I will not however throw out the baby with the bathwater and stop supporting an organization that does do a lot of good. I live in Ontario, I have been on the board of an OSPCA Affiliate and I now volunteer and foster for an OSPCA branch. There are a lot of good, hardworking, compassionate, passionate people on the staff and among the volunteers…there may be issues in top management and with the cruelty agents and officers…but the people I work with do their damndest everyday to make life better where they can for a lot of animals. I will be calling and emailing about this issue, of course I will, it should never happen…I will support the petition…but putting an organization under provincial oversight does not mean it will ever be perfect and as very little government money finds its way into the coffers of the shelters, who run on donations and adoption fees…I think it would only be fair to give a little back to a constantly struggling organization by putting the Cruelty Investigations under provincial oversight and perhaps selling licence plates and giving the money to the shelters, or parking fees, anything at all towards helping the animal shelters themselves have more of the means to deal with the constant influx of unwanted animals.

  86. Nobody has an issue with the workers in the shelters. None. It is the cruelty investigators and their superiors and their interpretations that everyone is calling to task. The reality of any animal shelter is an ugly one, with cast-off, unwanted, too much trouble animals dumped on the workers daily. That has NOTHING to do with letting an animal starve to death.

    That was their policy, apparently, according to the all powerful OSPCA big guns and law of the land types. But our laws need to be clearer to the OSPCA, I think. The last letter to Ward McAlister/OSPCA investigations, regarding Apalachian Chief, pointed out that Ward hadn’t quoted the most recent rulings in animal welfare. Shouldn’t HE be aware of the latest in Animal Welfare Laws? The OSPCA quotes from these laws, and ignores the meaning. It is very odd.

    The shelter workers? Worth their weight in gold, and they are never appreciated nor trained nor paid enough.

  87. Matt jaecques · ·

    What happened to the dogs? There is no mention of that, please don’t tell me they’re still there and if they are, please send me the address.

  88. Sandra Lovell · ·

    I read this story and cried like all the rest of the stories that the OSPCA has not responded to. Where is Chief the race horse no one knows. When are our politicans going to listen to us and do something to correct the useless overpaid people in the OSPCA. This is disgusting.

  89. That is such a sad tragic story, I can barely contain my anger. These OSPCA people are no better than the bastard who allowed this to happen. Shouldn’t people who actually love animals be running these types of organizations?

  90. This should simply not go away without charges laid to ALL that are responsible for the events that led up to the horrific death of this poor little mare!! How many more must die? Are they waiting for a certain # before this is taken serious? If the people involved, kept walking away, and doing nothing, These people should not be working for the OSPCA,this is heartless, and for any human to see an animal suffering and starving, worse to have a person that is able to help legally, walk away and turn their back on them . I wish I had seen this earlier!! I would have taken these horses!!! Thank You Brenda Hull for your devotion. God Bless.

    1. Cathleena Turner · ·

      Wait a minute? So the neighbours first saw the condition of these horses without food or water in November? Tell me then, if so concerned why do they wait until December 5 to report this concern. If they were really this rough, tossing hay over a fence was certainly not a solution for their salvation.
      They too should be blamed for being aware of neglect and trying to fix the solution themselves rather than report it at the time it first caused them to worry.

  91. This story is an embarrassment to all Canadians…our animal cruelty legislation needs to change so that when the SPCA refuses to do anything we can call in the police to lay charges against owners that do this….

    At least a REAL rescue stepped up to care for this mare…shame on the OSPCA for failing so profoundly 😦

  92. Gina Earle · ·

    Rescue organization members often send me articles like this. Makes me sick that this is still going on in this day and age. I have fostered dogs, have rescue cats in ourhome and have adopted animals from the HS in the past. We also have a farm and have offered our pasture to any horse in need because i was told the facilities are not always available in certain areas for large animals. Im appalled that an investigation was not started right away and once again human ignorance let yet another suffer. Bad enough the owner neglected these animals and where was the “Voice” of the LHS when it was needed. Are we to think that the dollars we donate are not going to what it should be??? My farm was available to house them…no one called us. The chatham and Sarnia HS have been told if needed , we are available. Someone didnt do their job!!!!! If they are all affiliated then why werent we called? Shame on those involved.

  93. Elizabeth Jones · ·

    This is just horrific, tragic and should never have happened. This just breaks my heart. Who gave them the right to be OSPCA? They obviously do not follow any rules, policy or laws and have no compassion for animals. Isn’t there an International body who provides guidence/rules/policy and allows them to take donations and provide care for abused and abandoned animals? Is it the UK government, Canadian Government, who gives them the power and how do they collect money? Somehow, someway thier “organization” should be put out of business, should not be allowed to take donations or to continue to ignore the animal abuses. This is just beyond cruelty, it is pure evil!

    The US SPCA and specifically the Nevada, Las Vegas branch is one of many no-kill shelters in our area and they have a wonderful facility that takes care of abandoned and abused animals and gets them adopted to new forever homes. The National SPCA has a law enforcement group who will investigate and prosecute animal abuse. All SPCA’s in the US follow the National Organizations policies, rules and regulations and do a wonderful job for homeless, abused and abandoned animals. Surely, someone must have control over organizations that call themselves SPCA no matter where they are located????

    God Bless the neighbors who tried to help Cocoa and were able to save Gem. You are indeed God’s Angels on earth. Rest in Peace Cocoa, we know you are safe and loved in Heaven!

  94. Certainly one of the most disgusting and disturbing stories I have ever had the unfortuante instance to come across regarding a horse. Words cannot really express how pathetic the OSPCA was in their actions. I commend the neighbours for their actions in helping save Gem. Rest in peace Cocoa, you deserved better. The LHS and OSPCA let you down – actually, they let you die. Those animal welfare officers don’t deserve a paycheck – let them starve

  95. xokitty · ·

    Not all the OSPCA’s are like this.. and it’s not all the people who work at the spcas that are responsible for this.. there are many people that work at the spca but only they cruelty officer can go and check out a potential cruelty. So only 1 person was responsible for taking action in this case.. it has nothing to do with the people at the shelter .. most of the people at the shelter are there to just clean up after the animals they currently have in care and to answer your phone calls.. or to find new and better homes for the poor animals. there are many officers that work at the shelters but only the cruelty ones could have gone on this call.. maybe they were on holidays? maybe there was circumstances that you do not understand.. the spca helps way more animals then you may think.. thousands everyday.. sure were gonna lose some sometimes and im not saying this is right.. people should have answer the neighbours phone call more quickly.. but to blame all the spcas? to blame all the people that work there? it’s not right and your blame isn’t being placed where it should be.. just thought i’d meantion that..

    1. Same As · ·

      Re: xokitty > you said not all OSPCA’S are like this…PROVE IT!!!! Can’t fool me!

  96. How dare they call themselves “the society for the protection and care of animals”!How dare they so flaglentry turn a blind eye on such of an obvious case of abuse! This story is heartwrenching. I can only praise the kindness and concerns of the neighboors who founght so hard for the safety of this poor animals.

    Secondly, how can the owner let this happen! You don’t have money to feed your animals? Sale them… give them away… ASK FOR HELP!!!! Someone, somewhere would have help you!

    An they call us the “intelligent” species!!!!!

  97. L. Partridge · ·

    I am just heart broken,
    The lack of duty from OSPCA is disgusting.
    Goes to show that no matter what nothing will be done, the OSPCA made up there law book but chose not to take action.
    Great work folks !!! You disgust me !

    To everyone that took those poor animals food hats of to you with out you there would have been little to know hope for them. It’s awful you had to witness the after math of neglect.

    RIP Sweet girl you did not deserve that.

  98. Although, this terrible issue, has to do with the *owner*, OSPCA, could,ve done better then that! Maybe could,ve called a Rescue as soon as the first calls & visit was done. WHY? in god,s name, did they let this go by. Because loving neighbors were throwing free Hay!??. come-on. The bodies of the horses, were Plain to see, that there was needed immediant 911,assistance. My God! I,d like to see them outside in this cold weather eating bark off a tree and the walls of a barn, SHAME on them. Just like the story with CHIEF! Tell us, what is wrong? So, from now on, we take matters into our own hands, or what? I have written to OSPCA, about Chief in the past, NEVER recieved an answer, either..TKS for posting. God bless these horses & the neighbors who contributed their time, concerns and some hay. (S)

    1. horse mom · ·

      Nothing the OSPCA does, ( or doesn’t do) anymore surprises me anymore.
      They are so busy butt kissing and covering up they can no longer function properly. They go on their little witch hunts, to the point owners have had heart attacks and another tried to kill himself, and there was nothing wrong with what the owners were doing.

      This is a disgrace, the entire london shelter, and its affilitate should be fired, and NEW people put in place.

  99. Unbelievable. What kind of individuals could let this happen?

    Absolutely disgusting.

    These people and the OSPCA need to be held accountable for this. Get rid of them all, low life that they are.

  100. Incredible.
    It is happening all to often.
    I’ve emailed them, with cc’s to others, and demanded they answer the magazine before I go ahead and publish their ineptitude. I cannot see how they can give any justification.

    There must be accountability. To us, it feels like fraud. Taking the public’s donations and not providing the basic response those donations are given to ensure.

    Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

  101. The OSPCA does not answer to anyone. Unfortunately MPP Frank Klees’ bill was defeated in Parliament on Nov 18, 2010. The McGuinty Liberal Government will not vote in favour of Provincial Oversight of the OSPCA. The horrors continue. There is a Provincial Election in October 2011. Make sure to find out where your candidate stands on animal issues = unfortunately the Liberals all followed the party line and did not vote according to the overwhelming proof that the OSPCA is not following their mandate. How many more animals will have to suffer.

    1. Too many Eva.
      Too effing many.

  102. Words fail. Even a dead body garnered NO response? The neighbours were encouraged to feed the animals? How odd. What were the OSPCA waiting for this time? Perhaps the animal owner is a big supporter of the OSPCA. Money does talk very well, doesn’t it.

    Crazy, Disgusting, but then again, we are talking about the OSPCA. They are a law unto themselves. It seems that terrible care is their mandate, and protecting the rights of people to be cruel to their animals is their mantra.

    My heart goes out to the neighbours, I can’t imagine their distress, waching this travesty of “lawful treatment” by our government owned and run OSPCA.
    Well, actually, I can.
    To The Silent Neglected Animals.
    Why isn’t the OSPCA their voice?

    1. I hear you. And I too know the story of Appalachian Chief.
      WHY does this keep happening?
      And WHY is each case worse than the last??

      I am so sick of seeing these stories out of my home province.


  103. Linda Horn · ·

    I live in New Mexico, US, and volunteered with a rescue that was faced with the same situation, so I completely understand Cocoa’s tragedy, Gem’s travails, and the frustrations of trying to work with “the system”.

    I witnessed the abuse, right down to the bare pasture, and eating bark and whatever wood 10 starving horses could find. 9 Peruvian Paso mares (4 pregnant, and one with a two-week-old foal AND pregnant)! Body scores 1-3. There was another mare that likely died, but conveniently “disappeared” before the inspector arrived.

    Over several years the rescue has developed a pretty good relationship with the Livestock Board. Prior to cooperation, most horses were surrendered to the LB under threat of prosecution and immediately sent to the sale barn. It was unspoken agency policy not to seize and bear the cost of care, prosecution, possibly losing the case (Due to lack of animal law experience and poor performance by DAs – horses returned without reimbursement to the state), and countersuits.

    In horrible abuse cases like this, citizens should consider bringing suit against the various agencies and individuals who failed to respond in a timely manner, take action, or follow up. Make sure to keep a log of even the smallest details, get vet reports, and itemize expenses. Lots of publicity helps.

    To let this mare deteriorate, struggle, and, ultimately, succumb to the elements is animal cruelty on the part of the agency, and everyone should be made aware of their negligence.

    1. Thank you for your comments. This is truly a tragic story, and unfortunately it seems to be going on a fair amount in Ontario. Something definitely needs to be done. And EVERYONE can start with emailing the OSPCA.

      I’m in Ontario, but I’ve emailed different governing bodies in the States when there were things going on… I’ve very specifically said that I live in Canada, and they should realize that the WORLD is watching. I hope it makes a difference, as it’s generally all I can do from Canada.

      Of course, I live in Ontario, so this one I can make calls, send emails… but please, everyone, no matter where you are – emails from far and wide hopefully have MORE of an effect on those in charge!!

    2. Fasthorsesrule · ·

      I’m sorry, but this just jumped out at me.
      It is impossible for a mare to have a 2week old foal AND be pregnant. A mare does not come back into heat after foaling until 7-9 days after she foals. Seven days at the earliest, but most average 9 days. So she may have been bred by a stallion if he was in the herd and if she ovulated the egg may have been fertilized, but you would not be able to confirm an actual pregnancy until 30 days later.
      I know, the actual facts of reproduction does not change the horror of allowing the mares to starve. But knowing them, does keep people from saying and repeating uneducated and incorrect information.

      1. Linda Horn · ·

        Fasthorsesrule, thank you for correcting the “impossible”!

        I should have proofread before I clicked the button. I know something about foal heat, but obviously you know much more, so I understand why you called me “uneducated”. Thank you for not calling me “stupid”. After I hit the button, I noticed a couple of other things were either totally wrong (number of mares, a MAJOR lapse in the synapse!) or misleading. Please read on and I’ll attempt to correct them.

        And I hope everyone will forgive the length of this comment. I’ve added a lot about what happened before and after the case was resolved, because I want others to know the many ways things can go wrong, especially in equine (“livestock”) abuse cases, so here goes!

        The dates prior to seizure are approximate, but I’ve tried my best to put things in sequence.

        There were originally 15 horses – 7 mares, 6 yearlings, and two stallions. The one mare “disappeared” before our first visit in February, 2009. The bay mare I’m talking about hadn’t foaled, so we photographed 13. The stallions were fenced off, but the neighbors said they were often in with the mares, both before and after we made this 200 mile round trip.

        The Livestock Inspector went out a few days later and threatened seizure. The owner was in reorganization bankruptcy, but begged to keep his “$10-20,000 horses” until they were better, with the intent of selling the herd at a “huge” profit. The LI said he should surrender all horses immediately, but the owner refused. The LI called his office, and they told him to work with the guy for a few months. It went unsaid that they didn’t want to support 10 horses until the case was settled.

        A short time later, neighbors noticed the bay mare had been boarded up in an abandoned adobe house, presumably to foal. About 2-1/2 weeks went by until they were back in the pasture. The LI thought the foal was about two weeks old when he first saw it (not when the mare was inspected for pregnancy) and the stallions were still being let out with the mares. BTW, the horses had eaten most of the wood off the house, including the outside stairs to the second floor – as far up as they could reach!

        The owner didn’t live up to the bargin. A couple of times the LI stopped by and the hay racks were empty. When the horses got anything at all, it was low-grade grass hay. Their water was from a fouled pond or dirty troughs. The guy kept saying he was broke and needed more time to rehab these “valuable” horses he and his family “loved so much”.

        About 1-1/2 months after the foal was born, we returned with our vet and the LI. The owner wasn’t home, but had given permission to enter his property. We found two handfuls of stemmy hay barely fit for a cow, CATTLE supplement tubs (potentially toxic to horses, but cheap). The pond was still fouled. The troughs were worse than ever and almost empty. Our vet pushed for seizure ASAP, especially because of the young foal out in the cold, but the LI was told by his superiors to keep working with the owner. They said he was “a pillar of the community”. (Translation: Somebody with more clout got to them.)

        Then the “best” mare (likely pregnant), her yearling, and the two stallions suddenly disappeared, and the guy wouldn’t say where they’d gone. Everyone (except the owner) was infuriated, knowing they were ALL in bad shape. We were powerless to do anything, because he was still in possession. The LI told the owner there better not be any more “disappeared” horses!

        On the morning of April 24, 2009, the LI finally got a warrant for 10 horses from a VERY reluctant local judge, and we removed them early that afternoon. The owner was in the pasture with us – pleading, arguing, and even threatening the LI with a countersuit! At that point, the LI advised him to go back to his single-wide.

        We transported the horses directly to our vet. He determined one mare wasn’t pregnant, three were, and the feisty and uncooperative bay could be – although nothing showed up on the EXTREMELY brief sonagram. All 10 were chock full of so many different kinds of worms it was hard to tell what was going on internally.

        Our petition for a change of venue was denied. The judge wanted to keep the case in his juristiction, where the owner wouldn’t be “inconvenienced” too much. Over the course of the case we had three different Assistant DAs, delays, continuances, and several more 200-mile round trips. The longer the horses were at the rescue, the better the defendant liked it, because his lawyer and all his friends said he’d get them back eventually.

        The Final Disposition was on January 13, 2010, almost 9 months after the seizure. All the rescue’s records and the vet’s huge notebook were tossed out, because the owner’s lawyer claimed he had never received them. They’d been hand-delivered by someone from the DA’s office at least a month earlier, but nobody SIGNED for them, so there was no actual proof.

        After that the owner’s lawyer REALLY went to town, because the stakes much higher – getting his client off and a bonus of 14 horses (the original 10 PLUS the 4 foals) that had received excellent care for 9 months. The mares still had pastern and hoof problems, but all the others were in great shape.

        Our “new” Assistant DA was totally unfamilar with livestock seizures and essentially useless. Despite the vet’s personal testimony (frequently interrupted by the defendant’s lawyer, while our’s sat on her hands), the judge allowed the case to be pled down from 10 counts of felony abuse to one count of misdemeanor neglect, a year’s probation to be reviewed in 6 months, plus court costs – in exchange for giving up the horses. (After review, the remainder of his probation was dropped.) We were grateful to get the horses, but our incompetent lawyer “forgot” to ask for reimbursement before the case was closed, so the rescue was out almost $25,000 in vet bills and care for horses.

        Anyway, the bay mare (Cascade) delivered a handsome stud colt (Tango) March 1, 2010, which I think fits the timeline reasonably well.

        As far as I know, both Cascade and Tango are still at the rescue, along with two other mares and one of their foals, now a yearling. One mare and 6 youngsters (never registered, because which stallion had bred them was undetermined) were adopted for less than $300 each. One filly, Angel, was born with a badly deformed jaw that needed two extremely complicated, expensive surgeries with no guarantee of the outcome. The blessed vet (who’s not against slaughter) took her on as a personal project. Everything, including mare and foal’s care for over 6 months, the surgeries, and another 4 months of rehab, were at his expense. Sweet Angel came through with flying colors! She may never have a beautiful face, but the rest of her is magnificent. I think the vet has her now.

        I found out the mare that wasn’t pregnant (Cloud – a stunning and super-sweet light grey) was euthanized recently as a direct result of an aggressive hind trim by an “expert” farrier. He attempted to correct HER (not HIS!) problems for over a year, and everything he did made things worse. Many times during that year, and at the end, she could barely stand and was in constant pain.

        You may have noticed my relationship with the rescue seemed to change toward the end of the story. Shortly after the seizure, I was asked to be on the 3-person Board of Directors. After the bad trim, I watched Cloud’s quality of life deteriorate, and kept asking whether she should be euthanized. The owner of the rescue kept insisting that, given time, she could pull the mare through. Her husband is the other Board Member and also had serious doubts, but she always has the final say.

        We had a major disagreement over other issues, and I “unvolunteered” on the spot. Others felt the mare should be put down, but wanted to continue at the rescue. I’ll never forgive myself for not calling the Humane Society and turning the owner in. I feel it was my fault poor Cloud had to suffer for months after I left.

        I apologize for ranting, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over what happened to these innocent horses or my own cowardice.

  104. There has been so much infighting at the LHS, they probably can’t get anything done to help animals, while they try to fulfil their own agendas.


    1. Same As · ·

      Same thing in Guelph! Guess who suffers.

  105. This is horrible horrible horrible. Disgusting.

    Under what ministry or governing body does the OASPC function at present? Do they have legal authority to charge abusive owners and seize animals?

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