British Columbia

Gary Roberts charged with animal cruelty after 16 starving horses seized

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

B.C. man had more than 100 horses on his property in Armstrong

A total of 16 emaciated horses were seized from an Armstrong, B.C., farm by the B.C. SPCA. (BC SPCA)

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.

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.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.