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Spyder 12-24-2008 01:02 AM

These two horses will get a good Christmas
After being abandoned by their owner these two horses a bay and a chestnut are being rescued by volunteers that gave up their time to dig a trench to rescue them from being trapped by mountains of snow.

Prince George Citizen - ‘We have to get these horses out’

‘We have to get these horses out’ Written by FRANK PEEBLES
Citizen staff Monday, 22 December 2008 Trying to rescue two horses, volunteers in the Renshaw snowmobiling area have been working from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to clear a path for the animals. (Submitted photo)

In the rescue trenches with a Renshaw volunteer The scenery is too beautiful to be a grave for a couple of abandoned horses, and the weather is lovely for digging.
A ragtag team of volunteers - snowmobilers and snowshoers - have been out in the Renshaw sledding area trying to free the horses from a wall of snow about six feet deep and a kilometre wide.
"There was a group of four of us digging at the top and a group of four of us digging at the bottom," said Birgit Stutz, a Robson Valley horse lover and outdoor enthusiast involved in the rescue attempt. They start digging at about 10 a.m. and quit at about 4 p.m. and they still have several days of shoveling ahead of them at the rate they're going. With a large workforce, Stutz said it could be done in a couple of days.
"We probably did 100 metres today at the top, and probably close to that at the bottom," she said. "We GPSed it, and it is 1 km from A to B, but on the ground it is a bit longer because we have to pick a line along the mountainside the horses can walk. It is still quite a ways. We need help. It's been a lot of the same people going up there. We realize people have a life, we all do, but we have to get these horses out before the next snow storm hits."
The local residents knew the horses were left there back in September by a visiting backcountry tourist. He was inexperienced, took the wrong route to his destination, lost the horses, and couldn't recapture them until snows had already set in. When he did finally encounter them, it is rumoured, he simply left them for dead because they were already in poor health.
Stutz said the locals kept hearing reports from hikers and sledders about the horses, but "we were told they were dead" so they didn't think anything more of them.
By chance, a search and rescue mission was needed for an overdue sledder and in the process, the sickly horses were happened upon and the community jumped at the issue. Stutz said each day when she gets home she has "probably 30 emails" and a bunch of phone messages to return to people interested in their progress.
They have had experts in to assess the snow conditions and the area, "and they say digging is the only way, so we believe them, and I am digging." Snowblowers and helicopters and everything in between have been suggested, but each has been ruled out for practical reasons.
"It's actually fun digging. It is peaceful, its beautiful mountain scenery, its actually warmer up there than in the valley and its wind-still," Stutz said.
The horses have been fed, watered, clothed, and they are only a few shovelfuls away from advancing down the makeshift trail of impassible snow. The shovel brigade deliberately did not open the last few feet between their trench and the horses' location.
"They are in a good area right now, but (today) we probably will move them," Stutz said. "There's an area nearby us now we can move them too, and we want to get them closer, in case there's another storm and it drifts in behind us and all our efforts are wasted."

Prince George Citizen - SPCA investigates abandoned horses

SPCA investigates abandoned horses Written by FRANK PEEBLES
Citizen staff Monday, 22 December 2008 One of the horses trapped in the Renshaw area. (Submitted photo)

While volunteers are digging stranded, emaciated horses out of a mountaintop deathtrap, the SPCA is down below investigating the incident. Not only are Robson Valley residents tired from shoveling, they are a little perturbed about the equine prisoners being locked up in a cell of snow.
Lisa Levasseur, owner of Terracana Ranch Resort and base liaison for the rescue effort, said there is a prevailing rumour as to how the horses came to be alone in the snow.
"The story around here is a hunter from Edmonton came out here and somehow got separated from the horses but couldn't retrieve them," she said. "He left them, came back later in the season with some local help and tried to catch them but when he saw them he said they were too thin to be bothered with so he just left them. That is the story. I don't know if it's true, but that is the story."
The RCMP and the SPCA were made aware of the story and they have taken it seriously enough to investigate.
"There is definitely an open investigation," said SPCA special constable Debbie Goodine. "That is the complaint I have received, yes. For now I will just say it is an open investigation and I will not discuss the details of the case. First we have to see if all the elements of a charge are there, if they are, there will be a recommendation to Crown and Crown will decide to pursue or not purse at that point."
Goodine said SPCA personnel and a veterinarian attended to the horses and found them to be in poor health but now stabilized due to generous provisions made by the volunteer team, led by a group of snowmobilers. An SPCA official would also be visiting the rescue efforts today.
"I sincerely hope to see these horses rescued, then brought back to health and their owner brought to justice," Levasseur said. "People need to understand that if they want to own domestic animals they become responsible for their well being. It is appalling to me that these horses were left to slowly suffer to death, no matter the circumstances. The person or persons responsible could have made a public plea for help in rescuing them earlier in the year or at the very least had the decency to shoot them. These horses are now in very horrid, weak condition and locals are facing near impossible odds, digging over a mile of 6-foot deep snow and braving extreme temperatures to try and save them."
The trench volunteers are digging has to go about a kilometre to reach open trail where the horses can walk without further digging.
Goodine and Levasseur encouraged the public to help either by volunteering time on the shovel brigade or money to pay for sled fuel as supplies and people are ferried up and down the mountain.

NorthernMama 12-24-2008 08:17 AM

Wow! I just about to post this link to the same story in a different paper:
Community digs in to free 2 horses trapped on snowy B.C. mountain

Spyder 12-25-2008 09:25 AM

CTV Toronto - Snowbound horses rescued from B.C. mountainside - CTV News, Shows and Sports -- Canadian Television View larger image As word of the trapped horses spread, volunteers began showing up to help shovel. (Photo courtesy Birgit Stutz) View larger image Birgit Stutz and Gord Jeck lead the horses down the mountain after volunteers dug them out of the snow. (Photo courtesy Birgit Stutz) View larger image Two horses found trapped by snow near McBride, B.C. have now been rescued. (Courtesy Birgit Stutz) View larger image Volunteers are see digging a tunnel to help free two horses found trapped by snow near McBride, B.C. (Courtesy Birgit Stutz)

Snowbound horses rescued from B.C. mountainside

Updated: Wed Dec. 24 2008 7:11:23 PM News Staff
Two starving horses that had been trapped on the side of a B.C. mountain are now safe and recovering at a farm near the province's border with Alberta.
Snowmobilers first discovered the horses on the side of Mount Renshaw, near McBride, B.C., one week ago. But they couldn't bring the animals off the mountain because of deep snow.
"A decision had to be made whether the horses should be put down or if it was possible to get them out. Were they well enough? My brother made the decision that he was going to get them out," Gordon Jeck told on Wednesday from his B.C. farm.
For the past week, Jeck, his family, and other volunteers have been digging a kilometre-long trench to the nearest trail to get the animals out.
Late Tuesday night, the horses finally made it out of their snow-bound prison and were put on a trailer and taken to a farm.
Gordon Jeck's nephew, Logan, and a friend first discovered the horses and initially thought the most humane thing to do was to shoot the starving horses.
Instead, Logan returned with his sister, Toni, who said the horses were fighters because of what they endured.
The next day, Gordon's brother Dave returned to the mountain with a shovel and began digging. As word of the trapped horses spread, volunteers began showing up to help shovel.
Jeck says he doesn't understand how anyone could leave them behind.
"That's a bit of mystery," Jeck said.
"There were apparently three of them. One of them was never found ... They were doing just fine until the heavy snow hit. There was grass up there. But then the snow came and they couldn't get anything to eat."
The horses have frostbite, are missing hair because of rain scald, and are severely underweight.
"They look rough. They've been standing around that snow for a couple of weeks. Obviously they had enough heart that we thought we could bring them out," Jeck said.
CTV finds horses' owner
CTV News spoke to the horses' owner who requested his name not be used. He said he and the horses were delivering supplies to hikers on the mountain in September when he became separated from the animals.

The owner says he went back to the mountain three times to find the horses. The first two times he got stuck in the snow and even rolled his truck and trailer and the third time he was able to locate the animals, but couldn't get them out of the snow.

"It was sort of a hopeless situation, we couldn't even see the bottom of the mountain, we didn't know which way out was out," said the owner.
The owner is expecting to bring Sundance and Belle back to this Edmonton home, but the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has seized the animals while they conduct their investigation.

They are investigating to determine whether the owner took the necessary precautions to ensure the horses wouldn't suffer.

"Once our investigation is completed, if the elements of an offence have been met, which by all accounts at this point looks like it has been, charges would be forwarded to Crown," chief animal protection officer Shawn Eccles told CP.

booner 12-27-2008 03:46 PM

I sure hope they make a full recovery and never go back to the owner. Someone that doesnt get help to retreive lost animals leaving them to suffer is a sicko.
Great story how a community saved them.

DarkChylde 12-28-2008 09:42 AM

What a wonderful story. Gives me faith in my species when I hear stuff like this.:D

I had a friend who moved up to the mountains of Virginia with me, but she didn't pen her horses in (don't ask me why, she was kinda the flaky type) she thought they would stay close by I guess, but they didn't, and then she calls me up, she can't find them. Me and my hubby had to search for HOURS to find them, when we found them they were in the middle of a thorn forest, and they cuddn't get out. We had to come back with machetes (sp) and chop down an area for them to get out. They had been there overnite, and they were very thirsty. My friend was ashamed, and put up a fence for them that day.

FGRanch 12-28-2008 10:14 PM

I was so happy when I heard about this!! I'm sooo glad that they got a second chance!!

horsecrazycool 02-17-2009 02:02 PM

THAT IS HORRIBLE!!! i would eisily go up to the people who do this to horses and smack them accross the face-lots!

-lol sorry went off a little there...

horsecrazycool 02-17-2009 02:03 PM

but yeah it is good that they found and rescued these horses! :D

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