Allegations of horse abuse surface as police return to site of animal cruelty investigation
Published Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:48PM MST Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2019 3:52PM MST
**Update: The weapons charges against Fred Brokop were stayed in November 2018**
A property in southwest Calgary, the focus of an ongoing investigation into alleged animal cruelty, was visited by police again on Tuesday morning as utility crews ensured power and natural gas had been removed from several condemned buildings.
A convoy of police units and city safety response team vehicles escorted the workers on and off of the property while members of the Calgary Police Service TAC team were stationed approximately one kilometre away.
ENMAX officials say no issues were detected.
On January 23, officers descended on the property in the 8300 block of 150 Avenue Southwest and the Calgary Humane Society seized 40 animals including quails, dogs, cats and a gecko that were believed to be in distress.
Fred Brokop, the 56-year-old man at the centre of the animal cruelty investigation, was arrested and charged in connection with the unsafe storage of long rifles.
Brokop claims the seized animals did not belong to him and were under the care of tenants who reside on the property. He has two previous convictions from 2017 in connection with neglecting a horse and some ducks and has been banned from having animals until 2027. Brokop is permitted to board horses.
The Calgary Humane Society says its investigation into animal cruelty could take several weeks as staff attempt to verify animal ownership.
Brokop says Tuesday’s show of police force was unnecessary.
“I went up there and I was curious I said ‘How come you guys brought so many police?’” said Brokop of the police presence. “They were like ‘You know because of all the gun thing’ and I'm like ‘Gun things? Nobody got threatened with any guns. You guys just decided that the guns were improperly stored, but they weren't improperly stored” but that's gonna all come out in court.”
While the Calgary Humane Society’s investigation into alleged animal abuse continues, members of the local horse community have come forward with allegations Brokop mistreated animals on the property years ago. Brokop denies the allegations.
Dave Dziedzic, a self-described horse rescuer and activist, says nearly a decade ago he confronted Brokop about a horse named Dolly and a lifeless foal.
“I came back the next morning to see a dead foal laying on the ground, (it) had frozen to death, and another horse that had rather severe infections on both sides of her body.”
Dziedzic says Dolly received a reprieve. “My understanding is Dolly was rustled away from this individual and received adequate medical care and lived out a few more years of her life.”
A woman who says she was once in a relationship with Brokop claims he gave her a foal named Willow in exchange for allowing the use of her stud for breeding purposes.
The woman, who requested that her name be withheld to protect her safety, says Willow was anemic, had a lung infection and a broken leg. “She was very small, very malnourished. She was with me for three days until we made the decision to have her put down.”
The Calgary Humane Society confirms it has received complaints about Brokop for several years. Brokop denies the allegations and says he takes good care of animals.
“Wouldn't the Humane Society have taken horses? Not just one of my horses?” asked Brokop. “None were neglected, the only one horse I ever had an issue with and that was with an eye. It wasn't malnourished but the horse had an eye issue and I had taken it to a vet.”
Brokop says he asked to have his veterinarian assess and take photographs of the seized animals but he says the Calgary Humane Society has denied the request.
With files from CTV’s Shaun Frenette