Photos of dead horses at Calgary landfills prompts city to take action

Photos of dead horses at Calgary landfills prompt city to take action
WATCH: The City of Calgary is making immediate changes after a second complaint about dead horses left to rot in full view at landfills. Here’s Gil Tucker with a young family shocked by the disturbing sight.

The City of Calgary will establish cordoned-off areas at two landfill sites for large animal disposal after more photos surfaced this week of dead horses being left in plain sight at the city sites.

The city told Global News on Monday that the circumstances surrounding a woman seeing three dead horses at the East Calgary Landfill over the weekend was a rare situation where proper protocol wasn’t followed.

READ MORE: Dead horses found at landfill ‘shocks’ Calgary woman

Calgary resident Andrea Hersom said Tuesday she was dropping garbage off at the Shepard Landfill on Canada Day and saw the same disturbing sight — two horse carcasses in plain view among the garbage.

Hersom said the incident was particularly unsettling as her two small children were with her when she made the garbage run.

“We went to the main lift and my daughter said, ‘Oh look mom, horses!’ and I looked over and there was two horses that had just been removed off the back of a horse trailer,” she said.

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“There was no hole or anything, just kind of laying there, and they were in rigor.”

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Hersom and her husband Glyn told their three-year-old daughter the horses were plastic, as they thought she was too young to understand why the dead horses were there.

“This is another incident where the carcasses were unloaded and unfortunately, the equipment wasn’t readily available to cover them,” city spokesperson Martin Ortiz said.

Bill desBarres, chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, said there’s more to be considered than just how it looks when livestock is disposed of improperly. He also raises the issue of biosecurity with such an open method of dumping.

“There’s the implications related to biosecurity, disease transfer — you know, how were they euthanized? Was it a method that would provide poison?” desBarres said on NewsTalk 770’s Calgary Today.

“If they were euthanized by barbiturate methods, then if other animals eat on that meat, it may kill them.”

LISTEN BELOW: Jodi Hughes speaks with Bill desBarres, chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, about disposal of livestock such as horses at city landfills

Ortiz said a solution to the problem of animals being openly disposed of at landfills will me implemented right away.

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“Moving forward we are designating a separate area where these carcasses are going to be disposed pretty much outside of the public view, to prevent the situation from happening again.”

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The designated areas will be established at both the Shepard and East Calgary landfills, Otriz said, adding animal carcasses are usually dropped at the Shepard Landfill. However, Ortiz said recent scheduling changes have resulted in more of them being disposed of at the East Calgary site.

DesBarres said he hopes anyone looking to dispose of livestock will call ahead to landfills to make sure the right steps can be taken to bury their animals, or that they’d call a professional organization to come pick them up.