Thursday, November 4, 2010

OSPCA Fails A Champion Horse

Apalachian Chief heads to the winner's circle after winning the Cup and Saucer at Woodbine in 1998

This is a tale of a racehorse. He won and placed in several prestigious races in his younger days, willingly running his guts out for the glory and enjoyment of his owner. The owner got the fame and fortune and the money. This is a common practice in order to TRY to recoup some of the money the farm owner has already spent in giving the horse the care that they need and deserve. Among those sold is ‘our’ subject horse Appalachian Chief, known as Chief for short. He is bought by a lady who had him for a while and cared for him appropriately.  For whatever reason, this good owner sold him to the current owner. This is where his life in hell begins on April 1st2010.  Some would say that this was a cruel April Fool’s joke for this poor horse.
 He was bought by a woman who has worked at the racetrack and various prestigious farms in the area for MANY years and knows very well how to care for horses – but CHOOSES NOT to.  She brings Chief to his new ’home’.  This ‘home’ is a garage with a chipboard cage on a cement floor. 

The prison from outside

There is nowhere for him to go outside because there is no paddock.  There are no other animals and horses being a herd animal, after all, thrive in the company of others.  There is a skiff of bedding on the concrete floor but not nearly enough to provide a proper cushion for him to stand on which he must do 24/7.  He cannot even lie down comfortably, if at all due to the constant presence of feces and urine in his ‘stall’.

Where he has been since April 2010

There is only a partially filled bag of hay and so he begins to live, without being able to stretch his legs for more than a trip around his approx. 7×12 foot ‘cage’.  The very nature of horses is that they must be able to have the ability to move freely over a large distance which this prison does not afford.  On April 2ndthe OSPCA is called by a concerned neighbour who is an experienced horseman and who lives nearby.  They do arrive quite promptly and for the rest of the summer into the fall they pay weekly visits to Chief.  Throughout the incredible heat waves we had this summer Chief would go for days without food or water. Had it not been for the concerned neighbour ‘trespassing’ and sneaking him a little bit of water and picking a few handfuls of grass, we have no doubt Chief would have died. Eventually a round bale of nasty, dusty, moldy hay that not even cattle would eat arrives and is placed outside his stall so that he can eat it, sort of.  It’s put just out of his reach so that swallowing is difficult.   

Chief stretching for his mouldy hay. Yes, the grey stuff in the photo below of the bale of “hay” is mould.  This the OSPCA deems as being acceptable.

Hay bale showing grey mould

As was this bale of something he was forced to eat earlier on this year.

Hay? Straw? Mould? YES!

A great many people have offered to purchase Chief from the owner, just to get him out of there, but she loves the attention not the horse.  One potential buyer had to spend upwards of 4 hours listening to Chief’s owner tell them how smart she is, how she outsmarts the OSPCA by having food present because that is all they need to see, about how she wins ‘wrongful dismissal’ suits, about how she does not believe in feeding horses unless they are being worked!  For those people who have offered to buy Chief from this woman when it comes to talking price she suddenly ups the amount she wants, often by double, and then caps it off by saying that she won’t sell him that she’d rather keep him so that she can write him off as a tax write off because he’s a “breeding stallion”.  With Chief’s escalating decline in health he will never be any kind of breeding stallion.  And so Chief stands, patiently serving his time in hell in this cage that was not cleaned out from April 2nduntil after June, count that, that is over 3 months of manure, ankle deep manure in the heat of the summer, with no cross ventilation, holes in the roof above his head allowing a steady stream of rain to add to the black, stinking manure, day in day out.  

Typical condition of Chief's stall
 Months of flies eating away at him. 
Months of wondering what he did wrong in life to end up like this.


How do have they done this?  

They have been notified many times about this situation that they eventually started making regular visits, same day of the week, same time of the day. They wanted to ‘educate her’ and left the owner brochures outlining how to take care of a horse, and reminding her that she should feed him  They would not ask or take into consideration all the people that were available to give references saying that she DOES know how to take care of a horse, but refuses to “’cause ain’t no body gunna tell me what to do with my horse, ain’t nun of their f..ckin’ business”.  All of the people concerned for this horse have been long time OSPCA supporters and know that funds are often tight and it is harder to re-home a horse than a kitten (they are all horsemen and horsewomen) and have let the OSPCA know that they have raised funds amongst themselves to pay for this horse, have arranged transportation that is on 24//7 standby, have found several options for places for him, all in an effort to help the OSPCA, IF they did their job and seized this horse.  This is met with a reply that they see nothing wrong and his care falls into the acceptable level of care as outlined for livestock and slaughter animals.   IF you read their own words on their own website about the necessary standards of care for ALL animals, it clearly states the animal must not be in  unsanitary conditions, it must have access to food an water, it must not be willfully neglected…………. and they are allowing every one of those ‘rules’ to be broken.

Chief showing wormy belly and protruding bone in his hindquarters from malnutrition. (The fresh layer of shavings he's on was put down on OSPCA inspection day. Below is the norm.)

This once dashing champion is wasting away before our very eyes  From the friendly, outgoing demeanor that was present when he first landed in this prison, he has changed to a depressed, frustrated and angry horse.  Who could blame him?  

It appears that the OSPCA will not move until Chief is dead. 

We are posting this story to raise awareness of Chief’s plight to implore our readers to demand that the OSPCA do the right thing and seize Chief and allow a reputable rescue take him and give him the good fitting home he deserves.  We also want to ensure that the you the public are made aware of this situation. You have the right to, no, need to know where your donations are going and what is being done with the money.  All of those cute little puppy and kitten and bunny calendars that the OSPCA sends out give a very misleading impression that they actually care about all animals and certainly does not come close to lifting the corner of that nasty little rug that they sweep these sorts of atrocities under.  Please contact the OSPCA and your local MPP to express your opinion on this awful situation.  And while you’re at it, tell them that the laws in Ontario and Canada have to be strengthened to protect all animals.
Chief and many others are waiting for your help!

Canadian Horse Defense Coalition


  1. The following is the press release released by the OSPCA with regard to "Chief" (Dated November 3, 2010)

    Inquiries on Horse "Appalachian Chief"

    NEWMARKET, ON (November 3, 2010) - In April 2010, the Ontario SPCA received a call of concern for the horse with regards to the animal not receiving the proper standards of care as outlined in the Ontario SPCA Act. Since that time, Ontario SPCA officers have visited the animal many times on a regular basis. Orders have been issued and the owner has complied with the orders.

    Many concerned citizens have asked why the animal has not been removed from its owner. Under the authority of the Ontario SPCA Act section 14.(1) the only grounds to remove an animal are under the following circumstances:

    1. A veterinarian has examined the animal and has advised the inspector in writing, that the animal's health and well being necessitates its removal - the animal has been examined by two veterinarians (one being an equine specialist veterinarian) and neither vet has stated his care required his removal. One veterinarian examined the animal last week and stated that "Appalachian Chief" was "found to be in good health".

    2. An inspector or agent has inspected the animal and has reasonable grounds for believing the animal is in immediate distress and the owner can't be found - The Ontario SPCA has made frequent unscheduled visits to the horse and has never found the animal in immediate distress.

    3. An Order regarding the animal has been issued to the owner and has not been complied with - The Ontario SPCA has issued orders to the owner to ensure that the horse receives the standards of care outlined under the Ontario SPCA Act. The owner has complied with these orders.

    There are other regulatory bodies with the ability to respond at different levels. Vaughan Animal Control, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ontario Racing Commission have all been made aware of the concerns expressed by the public.

    The Ontario SPCA will continue to ensure that the standards of care are met and that Chief is not in distress.

  2. And the Liberals think things should stay as they are????? WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! OSPCA are in it for the money and nothing else. They do NOT care for the welfare of animals....they care about their pocketbooks. This horse is probably too much for them to handle so they turn a blind eye. I am disgusted and sickened.

  3. What about bylaws? I mean, in a garage? Surely this location is not on a 100 acre farm? Honestly!

  4. I know what "IMMEDIATE DISTRESS" means.........So does that mean he's not in distress AT ALL???
    This makes me so ill........Stop educating people and START removing animals THAT ARE IN DISTRESS!!!

  5. This is without a doubt 'animal cruelty' & the OSPCA is absolutely just as guilty of this OFFENCE as the owner is. OSPCA should be short for Ontario Society for the PRESERVATION of Cruelty to Animals.

  6. Come on OSPCA get your head out of your ass and do something about this. This is a horse in need of rescue, why can't they see this. The conditions that this poor horse is living in is terrible. WAKE UP!!!!

  7. Who is the vet who examined this horse and says he is fine,and in Good health?? Is it the same one who killed 102 perfectly healthy animals in May,and would have killed all 350 if they had not been stopped?? Something is terribly wrong here,and that something is the O.S.P.C.A.!!

  8. To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about horses, but I do know that THAT looks like a cramped little garage that poor Chief is living in. I also know mould is very dangerous and to see it growing all over his food source is really sad and disgusting. Someone needs to do something. The owner needs to be found charged and the horse needs a new home. I don't understand why people wish to own animals and then refuse to give proper care to them. TERRIBLE. I hope something is done about this. Come on OSPCA, start doing your job.

  9. Would be nice if Appalachian Chief could go OUTSIDE!!!!!! He's been in a garage since April......SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!

  10. Crazy, that's all I can say. The more I hear about the OSPCA the more stunned I become. They don't care about the animals at all. We need reform of the OSPCA BIG TIME!!

  11. That enclosure is not even fit for a sewer rat to live in. Whoever looked at this horse and his abominable living conditions and deemed it to be fit should be shot. This is deplorable and makes my heart ache.

  12. I don't think the OSPCA is the one to blame here. They are limited by the laws in Ontario. The animal welfare act, while it was updated recently sounds like it's from 1920. I have met many OSPCA officers that are frustrated by their limitations. Even if you watch those 'Animal Cops' shows the officers can barely lift a finger unless the animal is obviously abandoned or comatose. We have that retarded pitbull law too! The people who pass laws regarding animals in the province have no clue what they're doing.

  13. Has fencing been installed for Chief's turnout and opportunity to exercise ?
    What about his mental health?
    Come on OSPCA! You know very well this horse is not in a good state. Your investigator has had months to write orders and HQ is only focused on dogs and cats since (I quote)'that's where the donation dollars come from'

    To deny a horse turnout and exercise IS willful neglect. I think the OSPCA should be charged under 'the Act' for willful neglect in this case. Your cruelty agent allowed distress to continue.

    Has anyone checked with zoning to see if she can have livestock on her property?

    BTW- the remarks regarding racing were nit necessary. His race career has nothing to do with his present state and I know the racing community has offered assistance for this horse.

  14. If this was a dog who was given food and water but was confined to a crate for 23 hours of the day it would be neglect, why is it different for this poor horse? This is a sheer case of neglects and the OSPCA is turning a blind eye.

  15. How about posting a picture of the owner. I bet she's a real winner! She should be ashamed of herself for treating such a beautiful animal this way. The OSPCA are a bunch of idiots who have NO HEART. I am disgusted with this story, this poor horse does not deserve to be treated this way. Where are the former owners, do they know that "THEIR CHAMPION HORSE" is going to suffer till the day he dies???? I am disgusted with the whole industry of using animals for profit. I am even more disgusted with OSPCA for once again turning a blind eye....BUNCH OF MORONS!

  16. From what I gather the former owner could not afford Chief at the time, and later tried to purchase the horse back to no avail...this is strictly from what I have read not know if it's true...perhaps someone could clear this up?

  17. I think the OSPCA and the anyone who has opposed changing laws to properly protect all animals should spend a week in the conditions that they claim to be "acceptable". I am too disgusted to say anything else.

  18. This is really sad, i dont know how people can do that to their horses,... where i live we have someone in the area who moved here from the t.o. area with a ton of horses that were bone racks and i myself called the spca in my area about it and they said there was nothing wrong with them because they were out side and had grass to eat ( 90% of it was over grown weeds because no one was there with horses for years) then alot more people were complaining and i guess the spca finally told them to do something so now they put hay out there, they dont get feed and you never see water out there you can see all their ribs and hip bones, and have like 6 horses to one run in.
    it happenes all the time there was one a few years ago in my area where someone had like 10 horses in a barn all winter never mucked out the stalls and maybe gave then feed and water when the pipes wherent frozen and the spca pretty mcuh did nothing, the fire department even came in to give them water atleast and in the end some of them died.
    i hate to say this but the spca are just following what is writen down for horses we have to go to the people who are higher then the spca to get this changed. we need to get these laws changed. its sad

  19. How much does she want for the horse? Seriously, we can all wring our hands and agree how terrible this is (beyond comprehension) but maybe if we rolled up with a stack of cash (not a theoretical offer, but a big juicy pile of tangible bills - "Here, this is what we'll give you right now if you hand him over") surely that would tempt even the most stoic and intelligent "horse owner" . Yes, she doesn't deserve it, and definitely someone needs to learn a lesson, but we forget who's paying the price at this very moment for our inaction.

    There must be a way of setting up a secure 3rd party trust fund to accomplish this. If anyone is interested in trying to move on this please respond and maybe we can get the ball rolling.

  20. SPCA who can trust them??

  21. The horse is not able to tell us his tale of woe. Surely, there are honest people that can and would take the horse and house it properly. SPCA should step in, if only to allow the horse to be moved to a proper facility and make the owner pay for the upkeep. The owner should also have to live in the garage for at least six months, just to see how it feels.

  22. this is horrible, anyone knows where this is? and anyone in the mood to go kidnap a horse???

  23. everyone is talking and giving advice but i feel nothing is getting done, this horse will die soon, winter is coming, if he doesent die from starvation or illness, winter will do it since his garage don't even have a door or proper insulation.

  24. why would she refuse to sell the horse back, she is not even taking care of the horse properly, what is her point of keeping the horse? is she a sadist or something, im willing to put in $500 (im pretty broke) for this horse, and if you can find someone that is willing to care properly for him, i know its really expensive to keep a horse (my friend had one)

  25. I just emailed the OPSCA and asked how they can not consider this cruelty at it's worst! Nevermind the fact she is feeding him rancid food, but just the fact that he cannot go outside and run and graze freely in an open field is mental cruelty!

  26. my friend has a horse, and she has many contacts and know of a few horse rescue places, she is looking into it right now, i dont want people just talking about it, we NEED something to be DONE, im working on it right now.

  27. "From what I gather the former owner could not afford Chief at the time, and later tried to purchase the horse back to no avail.."

    Not true.
    Seller tried to buy him back, owner wouldn't sell.

    There is abundant picture proof of the animal's continuing neglect. The OSPCA will only say it is "suitable and adequate", as any animal mill operation is. Food water shelter. Not all at once, and never quite enough, and no exercise. Ever.
    OSPCA says she is complying with their published standards.
    Says a lot, doesn't it..

  28. A word of advice from a ranch that handles horses from situations like this one. Posting the name and picture of the owner is going to do nothing but get them defensive. If you want to help this horse, find a PRIVATELY owned, non 501c3 group,ranch, saddle club etc who would be willing to open negotiations with the owner. Perhaps EDUCATION is needed and if you go in like the lynch mob you will NEVER get the owner to change. I agree the conditions are deplorable. But let me tell you a tale: we had 5 horses brought to our ranch AFTER people tried and tried to get the owner to sell calling all sorts of rescues etc. After someone asked us to try, we simply sent a letter stating we know that people are really upset about the condition of the horses & that maybe some suggestions for their care would be a good idea to couldn't hurt right? And offered our number. She called. We talked. She called a second time and began asking questions about standards of care. She emailed asking questions. Never once did I tell her how wrong she was. I used "I" statements and backed up how "I" handle "my" horses with print. Then one day a trailer pulled up and a friend of hers unloaded the 5 horses. She sent a handwritten note saying she feels really bad and that she thought horses "were just like big dogs". Sometimes an act of kindness will propel someone to do the right thing when the law and persecution cannot. Just a thought

  29. Does anyone know where "Chief" is? I know that the OSPCA has mentioned contacting Vaughan Animal Control as a governing body and that narrows it down but does anyone know where Chief is being held? I completely agree with LadyEvieGray that acting like a lynch mob will get you nowhere, but offering a more reverse approach may just save his life.

  30. Chief is in Vaughan.
    And Vaughan Animal Control can do nothing.
    No laws are being broken. Apparently.
    Chief is on a 50 acre property, with no fencing, and NO access to any of the property, by written order of the Landlords, given to the owner a few years ago.
    OSPCA have been leaving standards of care with the owner since he arrived. This owner knows how to care for horses. Owner has worked at big name TB stables, has been fired from said postions, because of her refusal to do work as the employer requested.
    Owner knows better than anybody, how to care for horses, in her own little mind.
    Chief is in no danger of dying, right now. He came close this summer. But he's a TB Stallion, and he has a strong will to survive.
    Animals adjust to chronic neglect quite nicely, as evidenced by her other horse.
    A mare. Owner plans to breed them.
    Let the legalized horse mills begin.
    Ask the OSPCA about the mare. They know where she is, too.
    Not that OSPCA will tell you anything. Not our "right" to know how they do their "job".
    Which, in my opinion, is to look at neglect, and condone it, hiding behind "our laws".

    STOP your donations to the OSPCA. I did, after 20 years of supporting them.
    OSPCA are supported by OUR tax dollars, to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars.
    Check out

  31. CAN I HAVE HIM ... I know an exceptionally very good man, Randy KAY, who will take Chief in a heartbeat!


  32. I would like to knock this peice of scum out cold then chain her to the wall of that nasty stall and make her live in that swill day in and day out without proper food, sanitation and over all care. I am all for "an eye for an eye......." If she complaines or cries I would mute her real fast like this poor animal is basicaly mute for he cant speak. Just another crappy human being on this dump we call earth.

  33. Someone commented:
    If this was a dog who was given food and water but was confined to a crate for 23 hours of the day it would be neglect, why is it different for this poor horse? This is a sheer case of neglects and the OSPCA is turning a blind eye.

    The problem is that horses are considered livestock. Your example of a dog being crated 23 hours per day is for a pet, not livestock. The laws are extremely different. It's unfortunate, but true.

    I hate to see any animal neglected in this manner, but I do think a rescue should approach her first. If it's true that the owner will not listen to anyone, well, then out her for sure (name names, give addresses).

  34. Actually, Not a Breed, that is true for pets, too. Why do you think Puppy Mills can continue? They are legal. Adn who said anything about 23 hours a day? 24 hours a day.

    No animal has to have exercise, ever. Really. Factory farming applies to pets too, in the form of mills.
    Or neglect, as in a dog chained 24/7/365. Totally legal.
    Ugly, sad, truth.
    Animals are products, not sentient beings.
    We do not have a classified advertising section for sentient beings.
    Nor a law preventing neglect. To the OSPCA, distress means imminent death.
    To me, neglect is chronic distress. Never knowing when your next meal will show up. Not knowing if water will be replenished, for days.
    Neglect = abuse, in my eyes.
    Not in the eyes of the law.

    So, the treatment by this owner towards this animal is therefore a high point in our understanding of our own laws:(
    Or is that a low point...

  35. I just wrote Kate MacDonald, CEO of OSPCA: email her at: <

    I urge every one of you to do the same. This is how we effect change, not just talk about it on the web...

    Dear Kate MacDonald,

    Re: Condition of Apalachian Chief

    As per the story about the current living conditions of this ex-racehorse, should this story be truthful, I am concerned about OSPCA's reluctance to remove the horse to a better home.

    Food is not the only requirement to health. We all know that mental health erodes the physical as well.

    Apparently no one at the OSPCA has a good extent of horse knowledge or this would be blatantly obvious to you.

    This horse needs to be removed now and the owner never allowed to own horses on non-equine zoned property again.

    The comments following this article were very harsh, but in my estimation (of the many hundreds of horses I've seen abused) they were not harsh enough.

    When will agencies like the OSPCA stand up and do something right for a change? I'm directing this at you, Kate. Do the right thing. For a change.

    April Reeves
    My contact information, phone and email

  36. Good note, April, yes it is far more helpful to go to the source (OSPCA) to demand action than talking about it amongst ourselves and feeling helpless. Hope this poor boy gets a nice home soon, away from this terrible place. How sad for a horse that raced his heart out for his first owners, to end up like this.

  37. April, the horse was on agricultural land, with no access to it. Also, there was/is no fencing, no paddocks, nothing. No exercise was done by the owner, s evidenced by the lack of a path leading out of the garage cage. Horses will wear a path, if they are led over it with any regularity.

    The fact that the horse was on agricultural land is immaterial. The owner knew there was no possibility of access to the property. It wouldn't matter anyway. You CAN keep a horse inside, for all of his days, because this is suitable and adequate, by law. A dog, too. A cat. ANY animal can be caged inside. Imperfect conditions, why not. For Ever.
    That is the Law. It's the degree of imperfection allowed that seems to have gone downhill. Rock bottom. Animals are allowed to suffer, legally.
    OSPCA Veterinarians are saying that horses can be kept in these conditions with no ill effects. How is this possible?
    One word.