The society responsible for investigating animal cruelty offences in B.C. has seized 216 “neglected” beef cows from a Vancouver Island property.
In a news release, the BC SPCA said its officers attended the site on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the cows were removed on Thursday evening after the owner of the cattle “failed to relieve the distress of the animals.”
“The animals were suffering from a wide range of issues and illness, including emaciation, lameness, eye infections, as well as pneumonia,” said regional manager of cruelty investigations Kaley Pugh.
Their living conditions were “among the worst” Pugh said she had ever seen.
A warrant was issued for the cattle’s removal after the owner allegedly failed to comply with orders to address inadequate shelter, lack of sufficient food and water, lack of veterinary care, and general living conditions.
Some cattle were kept in areas with up to knee-deep mud, the BC SPCA noted in the release. Roughly 80 of the animals were weaned calves.
The cows are now being cared for at an undisclosed location and are receiving medical treatment. The non-profit is recommending animal cruelty charges to Crown counsel on Vancouver Island.
It also thanked several organizations that contributed to the cows’ safe evacuation, including the Malahat Fire Department, which brought a tanker truck to the location to fill the water troughs.
“We also received assistance from the B.C. Dairy Association, who helped us access many of the resources we needed for such a large seizure, and tremendous help from the haulers who worked tirelessly to ensure the cattle were loaded and transported safely under extremely challenging circumstances,” said Pugh.
According to its website, the BC SPCA is the largest animal welfare organization of its kind in North America, has 44 locations across the province, and assists more than 97,000 animals in need each year.