The BC SPCA has seized 216 cows from a property in Shawnigan Lake due to the lack of care the cattle were receiving.
After neighbours alerted the SPCA to the situation on Goldstream Heights Drive, the organization executed a warrant Wednesday and returned Thursday morning to have veterinarians assess the animals.
In a statement to CHEK News, the organization said there were “significant concerns” with the animals’ feed, water, shelter, stocking density, veterinarian care, and footing — specifically, being kept in up to knee-deep mud.
“The owner has failed to relieve the animals’ distress,” the statement reads.
In an updated statement released Friday, the BC SPCA added that the 216 seized cattle included approximately 80 weaned calves.
The 216 cows have been moved to an undisclosed location where they will receive proper care and ongoing veterinary attention, according to the BC SPCA.
“Our officers were on site on Jan. 19 and 20 and finally cleared the property at 9:45 p.m. [Thursday] evening,” said Kaley Pugh, regional manager of cruelty investigations for the BC SPCA, calling the conditions the animals were living in “among the worst I’ve ever seen.”
“The animals were suffering from a wide range of issues and illness, including emaciation, lameness, eye infections, as well as pneumonia,” she said.
The BC SPCA will be recommending charges against the owner to Crown counsel. The owner will have an opportunity to appeal the seizure as is the case with every investigation, it said.
The BC SPCA said it was “grateful” for the help of other individuals and organization who assisted in the rescue, including the Malahat Fire Department, which deployed a water tanker truck to fill troughs, and the B.C. Dairy Association.