Is there a happy ending for Appalachian Chief, a race horse that won several races before age took him off of the track? For months this year Chief has been housed in a garage in Ontario says one group. This weekend Chief was moved to a boarding facility at an undisclosed location according to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's blog. That may not be accurate responds Allison Cross of Ontario SPCA. She stated in a phone interview this morning that she spoke to the senior investigator dealing with Chief's case and that there is no word of the horse being moved. "If the owner moves or sells Chief we have to be notified. As of this morning there is no word of a move according to the senior inspector." According to the Coalition Appalachian Chief was bought on April, 1, 2010 by his current owner. It was alleged that there was no safe place for Chief to run and exercise inside a garage. Chief's 7×12 foot stall was not cleaned of feces and urine and there was not enough space for him to lay down to rest. On April 2 a concerned neighbour was the first to contact the OSPCA. While the agency did arrive to investigate and then paid weekly visits Chief's conditions did not improve. Chief was allegedly feed moldy hay during the summer. On the Coalition's blog it is also alleged that the owner refused to sell Chief and bragged about fooling the OSPCA and that she believed that horses should only be feed if they are being worked.
According to the Ontario SPCA in a press release from November 3, 2010 the agency received a call of concern in April about Chief. Since that time the horse has been visited numerous times and the owner complied with issued orders. With public pressure to have the horse removed from it's situation the OSPCA stated that under the authority of the Ontario SPCA Act section 14.(1) the grounds to remove an animal are as follows:
a.- 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".
b- 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.
c- 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.
But is this the whole story? Within the comments is another allegation, that of a neighbour who may have been targeting the owner. Cross said she could not commit on that, her agency is only concerned with the safety of Chief. "There is a lot of misinformation on that site about Chief. The photos are over seven months old. In the beginning of the investigation there were indeed concerns about Chief's health. The owner was given orders to which she complied. Chief has been visited by two vets, the second one brought in by our agency who is an equine vet. That vet said that Chief was in good health and was getting proper care."