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Horses removed from Manitoba rescue by province

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A horse rescue and sanctuary in Manitoba is having its horses removed according to the province.

In a statement to CTV News Winnipeg, a provincial spokesperson confirmed animal welfare staff were on site at Barefoot Ranch in Teulon, Man.

"Animals have been removed to ensure their safety and to provide them with appropriate care," the spokesperson said.

They added an investigation is ongoing and no other details can be provided.

Sherri Anderson, the founder and president of the ranch, told CTV News Winnipeg that all the animals on the property, with the exception of her two cats and two dogs that live in her house, have been seized.

"We're talking over 150 (animals) including the chickens," said Anderson.

She said she isn't entirely sure why the animals were being taken, saying she was presented with a document which stated the court system had authorized the seizures.

"In the past, they've had complaints of emaciated animals being on the premises, (the animals) not receiving timely vet care, not receiving timely farrier care, to put more bedding in, add more water troughs…those are the things that they've told us in the past when they visit us, and we've taken action on all of those items."

Anderson did admit there were 15 horses that were not in good condition – two of which were set to be put down next week.

She added a virus also went through the ranch in January and February which caused some of the horses to lose weight, and since then, they have been working to try and help them regain some weight.

"I definitely understand people's concern with thin horses, but they certainly weren't not fed, and they certainly weren't neglected in any way."

Anderson called Tuesday heartbreaking for the ranch and said she plans to fight what happened in court.

Kayla Wheeler, an advocate for animal welfare, started an online petition against the ranch at the beginning of May, alleging abuse and neglect.

She said she has been advocating against Barefoot Ranch for about a year now and it all started after she adopted a horse from them and wasn't "satisfied with the condition that she arrived to me in."

When she heard what was happening Tuesday, she said she was relieved, and her biggest hope was all the animals were properly cared for.

"Knowing that animals were seized kind of validated everything that I've been going through and advocating for, for the past year, but I do wish that I was wrong. In this situation, it kind of felt good to be right at first, and then I thought about (it), and I'm like, 'It really doesn't. I wish I wasn't right,'" said Wheeler.

She feels there needs to be better regulations in place to ensure animals are receiving the proper care that they need.

Wheeler also noted that she doesn't think Anderson is a bad person, and thinks she started the rescue with good intentions.

"I think she genuinely had a good heart in the beginning and I really hope to see improvement in her in the future. Many animal advocates would love to have someone on their side, more people on their side that have the same passion as we do."

On the ranch's website, it noted more than 70 horses, donkeys and mules were rescued last year. It also has a petting zoo which features goats, sheep, llamas and a number of fowl.

    

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