Edmonton Trailer Driver Says Horses Not Abandoned

A 75-year-old man charged under Alberta's Animal Protection Act for permitting animals to be in distress said he feels the charge is ridiculous, and that the seven horses he left in a trailer on the side of the road were fine.

Abe Phillips of McBride, British Columbia, was delivering the horses from B.C. to a buyer in Manitoba, when his truck broke down in Edmonton, Alberta, at around 2 a.m. on November 8.

Phillips said he sought help, but because he was in an industrial section of the city, he couldn't find anyone. He returned to his truck and waited with the horses until between 7 and 8 a.m. when he flagged down a taxi and checked into a hotel.

"I couldn't call anybody to help on Sunday until I went to the hotel," he said. "I had a cell phone but no numbers."

Phillips says he considered calling 911, but then planned to wait until Monday morning to get the truck towed and fixed.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, he took a taxi back to the trailer and gave the horses some oat bundles. He had no water to offer them, but said he wasn't concerned. "I've hauled horses to the horse bowls in Edmonton and they often won't drink for two days because of the different water, it's not serious," he explained.

Phillips returned to his hotel for the night, but was awakened Monday morning by the police, who told him they had towed his truck and seized the horses, placing them in the care of Northlands, an agricultural venue in Edmonton.

According to police, eyewitnesses said the truck and trailer had been there two or three days. However, another buyer, Mark Stevenson, backs up Phillips' story, telling local newspapers that the hauler dropped off a horse to him on Saturday night. "I unloaded the horses and they drank around 11 (p.m.) on Saturday," said Phillips.

Phillips, whose court date is on December 11, said he plans to plead not guilty, claiming that the veterinarian and barn inspector at Northlands both said the horses were in "perfect" condition when they arrived.

About the Author

Liz Brown

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More