(Stock Photo)

216 cows have been seized by the BC SPCA this week from a Vancouver Island farm after the property owner failed to relieve the distressed animals.

Of that total, approximately 80 the rescued animals were weaned calves.

Kaley Pugh, who is the BC SPCA’s regional manager of cruelty investigations, said that the conditions the cows were found in were “among the worst I’ve ever seen.”

The SPCA said the warrant was executed to remove the neglected cows after the owner failed to comply with orders to address issues impacting the animals.

The list of issues included inadequate shelter, lack of sufficient feed and water, living conditions and lack of veterinary care. Some of the cattle were kept in areas with up to knee-deep mud.

“Our officers were on site on January 19th and 20th and finally cleared the property at 9:45 p.m. last evening,” said Pugh.

The farm in question is located in the Shawnigan Lake area.

“The animals were suffering from a wide range of issues and illness, including emaciation, lameness, eye infections, as well as pneumonia,” said Pugh.

The BC SPCA thanked the individuals and organizations who assisted in the rescue of the cattle.

“We received invaluable help from the Malahat Fire Department, which brought a tanker truck to the location to fill water troughs,” she says.

“We also received assistance from the B.C. Dairy Association, who helped us access many of the resources we needed for such a large seizure, and tremendous help from the haulers who worked tirelessly to ensure the cattle were loaded and transported safely under extremely challenging circumstances.”

The animals are currently being cared for at an undisclosed location where they are receiving ongoing veterinary treatment and other care.

The BC SPCA will be recommending charges of animal cruelty to Crown counsel in the case.