PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A Saskatchewan man has been fined $5,000 after admitting he let four horses starve to death.
Brian Gamble pleaded guilty in a Prince Albert courtroom on Thursday to causing an animal to be in distress.
Two other charges against him were dropped.
Court heard that several horses were discovered in the Rural Municipality of Buckland this past winter.
A defence lawyer told the judge that her client was in hospital and had intended to get a friend to feed the animals.
Gamble has a year to pay the fine and the Saskatchewan SPCA will be allowed to check his property without a warrant.
His lawyer said her client “is not proud of what happened.”
Reeve Don Fyrk’s wife, Wendy, was in the area when two barely alive horses being taken from Gamble were loaded into a trailer.
“I just think of how these animals died such a slow, horrible death. The bodies were just emaciated,” she said. “The hooves were worn right down to nubs from trying to dig through the snow to try and get whatever scraps they could.”
Court heard that people had noticed horses, seemingly unfed and in distress, in a field for months in winter.
Members of the provincial SPCA, municipality workers and veterinary clinic staff went out to check on the animals, but the snow was too high and a plow had to clear a path.
“There was no food, no water, nothing for them at all,” Fyrk said.
A few of the horses had died recently. Animals had already started to scavenge the bodies.
Two horses that survived are now in good condition, Fyrk said.
© The Canadian Press, 2014