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A number of injuries to horses and damaged equipment at Summerside raceway have prompted some owners to reach out to police.
Track announcer Vance Cameron said the suspicious behaviour and concerns over animal cruelty also led to the need for security cameras to be installed at the Red Shores Racetrack stables.
He said the troubling events began earlier this week.
“I found the first horse on Wednesday morning around 5:30 a.m.
“It was my sister’s horse (called Mystrys Barrister) roaming outside its stall that was originally locked with a chain. I know the horse is talented, but he’s not that talented to unfasten the lock and chain,” said Cameron.
Cameron said the three-year-old gelding showed signs of distress and has not been the same since that night.
“He is running a fever and has no appetite and barely drinks water, so I don’t know if that night sparked this outcome or if this was going to come on, but it all started since then. The horse also has a minor scratch on his leg.”
There have been more severe cases of injured horses, and the slashed tires of a two-wheeled cart used for harness racing by trainer Barry Folland. The cart was wedged between two others, and it was the only one damaged in a long row of carts.
“The slashed tires on Barry’s cart is definitely deliberate. But I can’t say it’s just bad luck that the horses got out on their own and hurt or if someone put a beating on them,” said Cameron.
“But without the security cameras, we can’t be 100 per cent sure. Horses can get into trouble themselves, but they don’t need some stranger coming here and unlocking them and then getting hurt as a result.”
Cameron said he plans to place security cameras in one of the targeted sheds as a precaution.
“It’s been up and down the entire barn area (consisting of seven sheds in total), so we plan to install security cameras in our shed for peace of mind,” said Cameron, encouraging others to do the same.
Greg Weston, the senior communications counsel for Red Shores Racetrack, said they take allegations like this very seriously and will work closely with the owners of the Summerside facility.
The racehorses can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000, depending on skill and breed.
“At the yearling (young horse) sale, when we sell them aged one, we have a minimum bid of $1,000 and after that, the sky is the limit,” said Cameron.
On social media, a horse has been pictured with before and after photos following the incidents.
Its owner wrote under the image, “He was struck repeatedly across the face with a large blunt object. His leg may or may not recover from the trauma it is too early yet to tell. For now, he is turned out at his home and I ask if you have any information regarding this attack on a defenseless animal, to please contact me or the Summerside police.”
The stables have suffered from a series of break and enters, according to someone that wanted to remain anonymous, but it’s unknown if the two are linked.
The Journal Pioneer was unable to receive a comment at this time from the Summerside police.