Seized horses, cattle may be returned to East Coulee ranch | DrumhellerMail
Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2024 3pm

Seized horses, cattle may be returned to East Coulee ranch


    A rancher who had 350 head of livestock seized by the Alberta SPCA from his East Coulee area ranch may be able to recover the allegedly mistreated cattle and horses if strict conditions are met.

    The Calgary Herald reported the conditions imposed on John Barry Graham on Friday in a Calgary court include him paying $160,000 to the ASPCA within 10 days and not being involved in the care or management of the animals. Graham is also charged with disobeying a court order, stemming from a previous 10-year prohibition from possessing large numbers of livestock.
    The ASPCA said the animals may be returned within the 10 day deadline, but they will regularly monitor the livestock at the owner’s expense.
    The Calgary Sun reported that the ASPCA claims caring for the livestock has cost the organization $128,000, and that number increases by $1,400 a day.
    The Graham Ranching Co. Ltd. filed a $1.25 million lawsuit on Friday against the ASPCA and ASPCA peace officer Richard Wheatley for what it called “illegal seizure of the livestock,” the Herald reported.
    Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Terry McMahon, who imposed the conditions, said that if the $160,000 isn’t paid on time, the animals could be sold, or if not medically fit to return to the ranch, must be euthanized.
    Graham's first court appearance has been set for June 17 at the Drumheller provincial courthouse to speak to charges of disobeying a court order.
    The investigation began in late April when ASPCA officers, attending the Graham ranch over complaints of stray livestock, found 350 allegedly mistreated and malnourished horse and cattle, along with 12 dead animals on the scene. They received a warrant the following week to round up the animals, which were shipped to an auction mart near Brooks to be treated by an ASPCA veterinarian.
    The ASPCA did not immediately return  The Mail's phone calls.

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