Ron Delver and Arla Delver stand for a portrait on their horse pasture near Valley Road.
Kayle Neis / Saskatoon StarPhoenix
The 72-year-old owner of four horses that died in Corman Park has been charged under the Animal Protection Act after laboratory tests of the remains “showed evidence of prolonged malnutrition,” according to police.In early January, the Corman Park Police Service ended its investigation into the deaths of four purebred Arabian horses belonging to Ron Delver and was unable to reach a conclusion as to how the horses died.Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan continued to investigate, partnering with police to subsequently seize the partial remains of the horses for lab analysis.According to a media release issued by Corman Park police on Tuesday, as a result of the lab findings and statements collected by police, Ronald B. Delver is charged with causing an animal to be or continue to be in distress under the Animal Protection Act of Saskatchewan.The maximum fine, if convicted, is $25,000, up to two years in jail, or both.Delver filed a police report at the end of December claiming the horses’ deaths were the result of gunshot wounds. On two separate occasions in December, the decomposing remains of the horses were discovered on a pasture outside of Saskatoon. Delver’s wife wrote in a Facebook post that the horses were killed by “thrillseekers” and warned others to be on the lookout.The Delvers declined to have the horses’ remains analyzed themselves. In an email in January, Delver indicated that having an autopsy — also called a necropsy — conducted on the remains “would have been of no benefit to us.”“As well, due to the extent of scavenging of the carcasses, a physical autopsy was not possible leaving only chemical and microbiological testing to be done on the remains, a costly and time-consuming process which would provide no useful information to us,” he wrote.The property where the horses were found belongs to Shauna Dickhoff, who had allowed the Delvers to take about 30 of their horses to her pasture after she saw that their own had been grazed down.In a January interview, she said she had been ill for a while and was hospitalized in October. She said the horses had been left on her land for longer than expected and that in December, she asked her children to walk the land to check on the horses. They were the ones who made the discovery and she told the Delvers.“The Delvers are good people and they are horse lovers,” Dickhoff said in the January interview.When asked why the horses were left on the pasture, Delver wrote in an email that he and his wife estimated it would be good for three months.“By mid December, we decided that it was time to move them even though there was probably a couple of weeks of forage remaining,” he wrote.In an interview, the Delvers said they had concluded that the horses were shot based on the lack of animal claw marks on the remains and that they didn’t find indications of disease or malnutrition.Ron’s wife Arla indicated they felt the horses were shot because one was found with what they described as a deep wound to its leg.When reached via email on Wednesday morning, Delver responded: “I’m always willing to tell the truth. Since this matter is now before the courts, I am prohibited from making any comment.”Delver is expected to make his first court appearance in provincial court in Saskatoon on March firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated