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Animal Protection Line

Marvin’s Story

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We Have A Marvin Update.

Marvin has been adopted by a family in central Alberta and he moved to his new home earlier this week. He settled in immediately but was sure to check out the food supply right away.
 
Marvin was in our care for 63 days and the improvement in his body condition has been remarkable. He hardly looks like the same horse.
 
Marvin is still under the care of a veterinarian and is still on a feeding plan, but he is well on his way to living his best life!

Original Story:

Lack of planning by animal owners causing significant distress

Marvin, a severely malnourished horse, is a prime example of neglect seen daily by Alberta SPCA Peace Officers

Marvin is about half the size of similar horses his age. The yearling was removed from a property in such poor condition he could barely walk. His circumstances were entirely preventable.

Alberta SPCA Peace Officers are experiencing a busy summer responding to calls like Marvin’s, where animals are suffering because owners failed to act before the situation became dire. In many cases, the difficult economic times are a factor, but they cannot be used as an excuse to let animals suffer. In Marvin’s case, horses were allowed to breed when their owners were already struggling to care for the animals they had.

Marvin standing next to a horse of similar age and breed

“Marvin is the skinniest horse I’ve ever seen,” said Alberta SPCA Peace Officer Ryan Butterwick. “I didn’t expect him to survive, but Marvin has a strong will to live so we’re giving him every chance to do that.”

Peace Officer Butterwick believes Marvin would not have made it through the night had he not been taken into care on July 12th, 2022.

“I’ve seen horses in better condition than Marvin not make it”, added Butterwick.

During his first several weeks at the caretaking facility, Marvin lacked the strength to get up on his own, requiring help from the caretakers. He was put on a feeding program by a veterinarian to ensure his damaged body could manage the food that was now being provided.

Since Marvin came into our care five weeks ago, his condition has improved. However, it will be many months before Marvin is well enough to be rehomed, a cost borne by our organization and the many Albertans who support us through donations and approved lotteries and raffles. To date, our organization has invested approximately $2,200 in vet care, caretaking and transportation for Marvin and two other horses removed from the property in Red Deer County.

Marvin at his caretaking facility

While the number of complaints to our Animal Distress Line remains consistent, the level of neglect and the number of animals involved is increasing. Population control for both pets and livestock is the first step in ensuring there are enough homes for animals.

Peace Officer Ryan Butterwick with Marvin

Our organization also implores owners to consider their responsibilities, and their capacity to provide care for their animals. Livestock owners should secure a six-month supply of feed heading into winter. If owners cannot properly care for animals throughout winter and spring, they should reduce their numbers before the cold weather arrives.


Owners are reminded, once you have animals in your care, it’s your responsibility to ensure they are healthy and free from distress.

Complaints involving livestock make up about half of the approximately 2,400 complaints received by the Alberta SPCA each year.

If you see an animal in distress outside Edmonton and Calgary, report it to our Animal Protection Line at 1-800-455-9003.

Dan Kobe

Dan Kobe

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