Dave Prichard says its the worst thing he’s seen in a lifetime of farming — 17 dead cattle on his summer pasture.
“It was not a very nice scene,” said Prichard, who has his own polled Herefords and registered red Angus on his ranch near Killam, about 70 kilometres southeast of Camrose.
The cattle belonged to his neighbour, Noah Kennedy, and appear to have broken through a fence to get onto Prichard’s property.
The Alberta Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals isn’t commenting on the case.
“All I can tell you is that the SPCA did respond to concerns for cattle in the Killam area,” said spokesman Roland Lines. “We have launched an investigation into the situation, and the investigation is still underway.”
Prichard also didn’t want to comment further on the matter, but he earlier told CTV he suspects the animals came onto his property searching for food and shelter.
The Alberta SPCA covers the entire province outside of Edmonton and Calgary (which have humane societies) and receives about 2,000 calls every year from people concerned about the welfare of both livestock and companion animals. Calls about cattle account for about 10 per cent of annual calls and many come in the late winter months.
“As we get further into winter, there is always the risk that a producer has not supplied enough supplemental feed for the cattle,” said Lines.
“Especially with some of the weather that we’ve had lately, even if there was some graze under the snow, as the snow becomes hard packed and crusted over with ice, it becomes increasingly more difficult for cattle to survive on that. It’s just more difficult for cattle at this time of year and we do tend to see a rise in the calls.”
Most calls about cattle are about lack of feed or water. Cattle cannot survive on snow, Lines said.
There are only nine Alberta SPCA officers, so public calls help alert the organization to animal welfare concerns. Anyone who suspects animal neglect or abuse can call 1-800-455-9003.