Word came down late Friday afternoon that an 18-year-old horse in Maple Ridge will have to be euthanized.
A plea went out earlier this week from ZsaZsa Stiasny, the operator of Healing Horse Sanctuary in Maple Ridge.
She wanted the BC SPCA to give her an extension in their order to euthanize Silver, a retired barrel racing quarter horse that had been in care at the sanctuary for the past four years.
Stiasny was asking for a bit more time, so a few equine foot experts could review Silver’s file and see if anything could be done to aid the foundering horse.
“They looked at her radiographs, and they both agreed there isn’t any amount of work or change in her diet that will improve her condition,” Stiasny told The TIMES between muffled sobs.
Consequently, the sanctuary will be abiding by the SPCA order, and having Silver put down this weekend.
[This was the original story published online earlier Friday]…
One of 10 horses in care at a local equine sanctuary could be facing a death sentence, while the owner and SPCA squabbling over whether the animal should be kept alive.
Leading up to deadline day (today, Friday) ZsaZsa Stiasny, the founder and executive director Healing Horses Sanctuary in Maple Ridge, was pleading for the SPCA to delay what she calls an “euthanization order” for an 18-year-old quarter horse mare named Silver, that has been suffering with foot problems.
During an unrelated visit to the Stiasny’s farm at 24269 Dewdney Trunk Road just over a week ago, an SPCA officer also looked at Silver and another old mare, named Lady. Both old horses had obvious health issues, Stiasny admitted, so – in her view – the SPCA was reasonable in ordering a veterinarian examine both horses.
Lady, who had suffered a broken knee in past, received an okay, with the vet apparently reassuring SPCA staff that Lady’s condition was improving.
But the Mission vet was not as hopeful for Silver, indicating that if it was his horse, he’d have her put down.
After the vet and SPCA investigator compared notes, Stiasny said she received a call back from the SPCA a few days after the site visit, ordering that Silver be “euthanized.” But Stiasny wasn’t convinced – and still isn’t – that this is Silver’s only option. And according to the sanctuary operator, she has until today to comply or the SPCA will step in.
Ultimately, Stiasny acknowledged that might be Silver’s fate.
But she’s asking for a brief extension since she’s not yet been able to get hold of what she describes as holistic animal consultant who specializes in equine foot care.
Healing Horses has been in touch with this Abbotsford farrier before, and armed with a referral had implemented a trimming and foot care program on the old mare that she hoped could offer a promise of recovery.
Following the SPCA visit and call, Stiasny turned to the sane farrier again over the weekend, pleading for her to review Silver’s Xrays and case file again, then offer her assessment.
“We aren’t willing to give up on her without trying everything possible,” Stiasny said, anxiously waiting for the woman to reply.
Stiasny insists she’s not asking for long, just what she calls enough time to determine if there is an alternative recovery plan for the retired barrel racing champion.
Silver was purchased from an auction four years ago, and as Stiasny claimed, was rescued from certain. The horse began suffering with hoof problems – known as a severe case of founder – about a year ago, and sanctuary volunteers have been working with her tirelessly to aid in her recovery.
“She’s sore, but not laying down, sweating, and suffering,” Stiasny said.
“If [the farrier] comes back with an opinion that she is not recoverable, then we are willing to accept the order and have her put down, despite the fact that we have a ‘no kill’ policy,” Stiasny said.
“All we ask for is an extension to get another opinion,” the Maple Ridge horse owner asked. “We have many volunteers who love and support Silver. We want to give her every chance possible.”
Meanwhile, the BC SPCA’s animal cruelty investigator Eileen Drever was unable to speak to specifics of the case, but she explained the organization’s general procedures in such cases.
“We’re not the experts,” Drever said, noting that a veterinarian is always asked to examine the animal in question, and in this case she confirmed that Silver was checked out by the sanctuary’s own vet.
In any case, Drever explained, if an animal owner fails to comply with the vet’s recommendations to relieve an animal in critical distress within a reasonably designated timeframe, then the SPCA applies for and executes a search warrant, then does what is necessary to eliminate the animal’s distress.
Sometimes, that means removing the animal from the situation and putting it into care. And admittedly, in other more severe cases, an animal must be euthanized.
All Drever could say about this case was that it is under investigation “and hopefully the owner will comply with any recommendations that have been made to relieve the animal’s distress.”
- Stay tuned to The TIMES online and print editions for updates on Silver’s story