The Alberta SPCA seized more than 300 horses and cattle, and found a dozen dead animals, during an investigation at a ranch.
About 140 horses and 200 head of cattle were removed from a property in East Coulee, which is northeast of Calgary, on April 18.
"At the scene, approximately 12 cows and horses were found deceased," stated RCMP in a media release. "Approximately 140 horses and 200 head of cattle have been seized and captured. All were of poor body condition. Three or four horses had to be euthanized because they were unable to be transported.
"The livestock will be secured and checked by a certified veterinarian."
Terra Johnston, executive director of the Alberta SPCA, said the horses were very thin and in poor condition.
"We were concerned about the ongoing care," she told the CBC. "Certainly we had a veterinarian assist us, and her recommendation was that we seize the horses and remove them to a care taking facility. They need to get some care."
She told the Calgary Herald that the horses were in particularly thin condition, and there was no obvious available feed or supplemental feed.
John Barry Graham, the owner of the animals, is now under investigation by both the SPCA and RCMP.
In 2002, Graham pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and was fined $10,000. At that time he was banned from owning livestock for 10 years, with some conditions.
His friend, Dustin Hampton, defended him to the media and said he cares for his stock.
“It’s been a long, hard winter,” Global News quoted him as saying. “The SPCA has had a real hate-on for Barry for a lot of years now. Now they‘ve got their excuse to come in here and uproot him again.”