Seized horses lead to animal cruelty charges for Armstrong man

WATCH: Officials are investigating a shocking case of animal neglect in the Okanagan. Kimberly Davidson of Global Okanagan reports.

ARMSTRONG–Criminal charges have now been laid against the owner of 16 horses seized from a property near Armstrong in December.

He’s also being forced to get rid of the rest of his 100 horse herd.

69-year-old Gary Roberts is charged with two counts of animal cruelty and one charge of uttering a threat.

READ MORE: 16 inadequately fed horses seized from Armstrong farm

The seized horses, now living in foster care, were extremely malnourished and skinny.  In the last month, three have died.

“We did unfortunately lose three of the foals,” said Kathy Woodward, senior animal protection officer with the BC SPCA.  “They were in very poor condition when they came into our care and we were unable to save them. The other 13 are doing really well.”

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Woodward is hopeful the SPCA can start placing the surviving horses by the middle of February.

In the meantime, a sale is set for February 7 at Valley Auction in Armstrong to auction off the other 100 horses Roberts owns.

While the SPCA’s animal protection officers would like to see the horses go to good homes, they caution against people rushing to “rescue” the animals without seriously considering their own resources.

“They’re hearts are in it but caring for a horse through the winter is a very expensive hobby.   A lot of our files come from people who get in to help but then get overwhelmed.”

Gary Roberts is out on bail. He’s scheduled to appear in Vernon court on January 29.

WATCH: The horses were seized from Roberts in December

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