A man from Armstrong, B.C.,faces criminal charges of animal cruelty after SPCA officers raided his property in December to seize 16 severely undernourished horses.

Gary Roberts had more than 100 horses on his land, according to senior animal protection officer Kathy Woodward.

He was later charged with one count of animal cruelty and one charge for uttering a threat during the raid. He has since been released on the condition that he can't have custody or control of any animal or live where they are.

Three of the 16 horses seized in December have died, said Woodward. The other 13 are recovering and will go to new homes, she said.

The rest of Roberts's horses will be sold at an auction on Feb. 7.

BCSPCA emaciated horse

The B.C. SPCA says three of the 16 starving horses found on the Armstrong, B.C., property have died. (BCSPCA)

Woodward said large herds like the one Roberts had on his property can be costly in winter because there's no grazing land, meaning owners have to buy feed.

"This time of year we get a lot of calls regarding horses," said Woodward, who warned the case is a lesson to others thinking about taking on the responsibility of any animal.

"Often times a lot of our calls are because people, you know, start with two horses and they breed, and it doesn't take long to get out of hand, or they rescue horses, and before too long there's too many there and they no longer have the energy or the resources to care for them all," she said.