The B.C. SPCA seized nine horses from a rural property near Kamloops on Thursday after receiving a call to its animal cruelty hotline.
Two dead horses were also found on the property.
"They were very, very thin. emaciated," said B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer Kathy Woodward.
Woodward said the nine live horses that were removed are also very thin — a two out of nine on the body condition scale. The ideal score on that scale is five out of nine. According to Woodward, reaching a two could result in death.
"Especially going into winter like this. They need their body condition to keep them warm through the winter."
Woodward said the horses are in foster homes and are expected to make a full recovery, but nothing can be certain until a veterinarian has examined them.
When officers went to the property to look into reports of animal neglect, they found the horses were without adequate food, water and shelter.
"The lead investigator was absolutely distraught when she called me from the property," Woodward said.
"It's really hard to go on [the property] and to have things already gone. You hope you get there before any more are lost," she said. "The logistics take a few days, unfortunately, so it's really frustrating for the constables when they come across one that bad."
The B.C. SPCA said it will recommend charges of animal cruelty and neglect and hopes the property owners will be prohibited from owning animals in the future.
With files from Jenifer Norwell