Police are waiting for necropsy results after the body of a free-roaming horse was found on a roadside northwest of Sundre, in an area known locally as Rig Street.
Cpl. Ryan Hodge of the Sundre RCMP said investigators were called at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, when the animal’s remains were found on an lease road near the James River in Clearwater County, just north of Hwy 584.
Initial investigations revealed that the horse may have been shot.
The site is a considerable distance north of the area where protesters were recently arrested for interfering with a horse hunter and therefore does not appear to have any connection with that incident, said Hodge.
The protesters had been camped off the Coal Camp Road at the confluence of Williams Creek and the Red Deer River, where a local man was attempting to capture wild horses under a permit issued by the provincial government.
Necropsy results are needed to confirm if the horse was shot and to determine whether it suffered some other trauma beforehand, such as being struck by a vehicle, said Hodge.
The decision to pursue criminal charges will depend on those findings, he said.
Feral horses are considered livestock and are therefore protected under Section 444 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which makes it an offence to injure or endanger them, said Hodge. Offenders may be imprisoned for up to 18 months and or fined up to $10,000.