A highly-valued stallion was killed and another severely injured in what Olds College officials call a “senseless act of animal cruelty.”
At some time late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, one or more people went into the horse stables on the college campus and released several stallions together in a common area.
Predictably, a vicious fight ensued resulting in the death of one of the horses, said Tanya McDonald, dean of the animal science program.
McDonald said on Wednesday that the RCMP have been called to investigate. She and other college officials are releasing few details, including the identities of the injured animals, because they do not want to interfere with the investigation, being conducted by Olds RCMP and the RCMP Alberta livestock investigation unit.
Veterinarian Marion Anderson, long-time program co-ordinator for the college’s equine science program, said incidents such as the one that took place on Saturday are very rare and that Olds College is deeply saddened by the loss.
“Olds Colleges Equine programs have been in existence for over 40 years and this is the first time this type of thing has ever happened,” Anderson said in a prepared statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.
“We take the security of our animals under care very seriously. This was a very special stallion within the college community and has been with us for nearly ten years. To lose him in such a senseless manner was a true tragedy.”
A Crime Stoppers reenactment is being created in hope that it will encourage people who have information to report what they know to police, said McDonald.
Olds College is open to the public, so students and members of the public would have some access to the areas where horses are housed, she said. She did not have any idea who would commit such an act or why.
Reaction to the incident has produced a storm of outrage on social media, including comments from former students who learned about it on various Facebook pages.
The horses play an integral role in the equine science program, which offers two-year diplomas in a range of disciplines, including equine reproduction, said McDonald.
The equine sciences program is separate from the exercise rider and jockey training program and uses a different group of horses, she said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Olds RCMP at 403-556-3324. To remain anonymous, submit information online to www.tipsubmit.com or call Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477.