Horse owner taking N.S. neglect claim to court

A Nova Scotia horse owner is considering legal action to get a horse back from a farm she says is not properly caring for it.

Kim Artz of Shubenacadie sold her horse Skipper to Dusty Lane Farms in Onslow Mountain in April, but now she wants it back to protect the horse.

"That horse was actually sold to Dusty Lane Farms under a contract. That contract stated that that horse had to be in a certain condition, provided with proper farrier care, veterinary care, shelter, water, food, at all times," she said Friday.

But she claims the horse's condition deteriorated and she will launch a civil suit to get it back.

"She's bloated with worms, her feet are a mess, her hocks are swollen. She's got rain rot from her ears to her bum. She's got gouges out of her face," Artz said.

There are between eight and 15 other horses on the farm. Other owners and former owners say their horses became ill after being stabled at the farm, including one that died Monday.

"This isn't just about my mare. There are a lot of horses involved. There are a lot of people involved. It's not about me getting a horse back," Artz said.

Artz worries Skipper will die before a court can rule on her bid to reverse the sale.

The Department of Agriculture has twice visited the farm this month and found no sick horses. The department said inspectors will likely make a third visit to the farm as the investigation continues.

Artz said she went to the farm Thursday night. There was a confrontation in the driveway and RCMP were called.

"We've been called this week, twice, to the farm on Onslow Mountain Road, basically to keep the peace," said Sgt. Al Affleck of the Bible Hill RCMP.

Affleck said police have been called to the farm for past confrontations, too.

The owners of Dusty Lane Farms declined to comment Friday. Earlier this week, they said they will continue to work within government guidelines and pointed out the two inspections turned up no serious violations on their farm.

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