SPCA has ‘open investigation’ into horse near Apple Hill

This male 'flea-bitten' gray Arabian horse in a field near Apple Hill has drawn a lot of attention on Facebook over allegations of neglect. However, the Ontario SPCA says the owner is cooperating with them and the horse is getting veterinary care. The animal appeared to be in good spirits and was eating grass during a visit by Cornwall Newswatch July 10, 2015. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

APPLE HILL – There’s an outpouring of concern over a lone horse in a field near Apple Hill.

But the Ontario SPCA told Cornwall Newswatch people shouldn’t rush to judgment on pictures circulating this week on Facebook.

The pictures show the animal with cracked, dried skin on its muzzle – in some cases bleeding – and slightly emaciated.

“Some of the images shared on social media are not recent images of the horse. The Ontario SPCA does have an open investigation into the matter. The owner is working well with us. The horse is being treated by a veterinarian and getting the care it requires,” said spokeswoman Alison Cross in a statement to Cornwall Newswatch.

The horse – a male “flea-bitten” gray Arabian – is being kept in a field at a farm on Robertson Road, halfway between Martintown and Apple Hill. The field is overrun with poison parsnip. The farm house is abandoned and the barn appears to not be in operation. There’s a small shelter at the back of the field where a water trough is located.

This male 'flea-bitten' gray horse in a field near Apple Hill, Ont. has drawn a lot of attention on Facebook over allegations of neglect. The Ontario SPCA told Cornwall Newswatch, photos circulating social media are outdated. The SPCA said there's an open file on this horse, its getting care from a vet and the owner is cooperating. The animal was eating grass and was trotting around the field during a visit by Cornwall Newswatch July 10, 2015. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
This male ‘flea-bitten’ gray horse in a field near Apple Hill, Ont. has drawn a lot of attention on Facebook over allegations of neglect. The Ontario SPCA told Cornwall Newswatch, photos circulating social media are outdated. The SPCA said there’s an open file on this horse, its getting care from a vet and the owner is cooperating. The animal was eating grass and was trotting around the field during a visit by Cornwall Newswatch July 10, 2015. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

One neighbour, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged the photos online are from last year. However, she was concerned the horse could end up in a similar condition this year from being in contact with poison parsnip.

The neighbour said the horse does have water though its water trough is “green” – presumably with algae.

She said the SPCA did come and inspect the area in May.

The neighbour said people from the public, including herself, have been feeding the horse a variety of foods and a woman was expected to stop by Friday with some hay.

However, the SPCA is urging people not to feed the horse as it may interfere with the veterinary care the animal is receiving.

During a visit Friday by Cornwall Newswatch, the horse appeared to be in good spirits and was eating grass under a shade tree before trotting off to its shelter near the back of the field.

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