Thursday April 24, 2014

Spunky 'not going to die in vain'

Horse found starving was in too much pain


One more horse seized by the SPCA has lost its fight to recover from starvation.

Dr. Jennifer Jackson of the Kamloops Large Animal Clinic said Tuesday the horse that staff nicknamed Spunky was euthanized late Monday because his suffering couldn’t be alleviated.

Spunky, a bay gelding, had pneumonia and developed colitis on top of the other complications that come from starvation.

Jackson said it was a heartbreaking decision that affected the clinic staff who had worked around the clock to try to save him and three other young horses the SPCA seized recently that were all in near-death condition.

Every time Spunky ate, he’d be uncomfortable afterward.

“He became so in pain so quickly and we couldn’t get the pain under control,” she said.

“They start to deteriorate. And then they’re just in so much pain. There was no relieving the pain. He had no immune system and his reserves were so low.”

Clinic staff agreed among themselves that Spunky just couldn’t suffer any longer.

“He died in care. And he’s not going to die in vain and he made a big difference in our lives in nine days,” said Jackson.

“He got to people at the clinic. He was a trooper and he just had that soft eye. He was so sweet. Everybody came and was here for the euthanasia. Everybody huddled around him and said good-bye. . . . I help in animal passing daily or every other day. But this was hard.”

Two other horses taken to the clinic are in foster care and doing well. A third horse, temporarily named Lisa, is still at the clinic because her loss of muscle mass makes it impossible for her to stand up on her own.

She’s not out of the danger zone yet, but she’s watched on cameras by staff at home at night.

SPCA special provincial constable Kent Kokoska said the publicity around the seizing of the starved horses has led to more reports. And another horse was handed over to the agency Tuesday.

That makes 15 horses seized or surrendered in the past month or so. Five of them have been euthanized because of their suffering.

Kokoska said if charges are laid, the judge might look at the outcome for the animal.

“If an animal has recovered and has a good ending to its life, that’s something the judiciary might consider — as opposed to prolonged suffering in its demise,” he said.

“We have other calls of concern. As we’re continuing investigations in the area that led to the 11 horses described, other situations are unfolding as well.”

At least four horse owners are involved in his investigations, they didn’t all come from one source.

“We’re still conducting interviews, trying to establish ownership,” he said.


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