Bunbury Woman Convicted, Sentenced for Cruelty to Horses

Bunbury Woman Convicted, Sentenced for Cruelty to Horses

A 35 year old Bunbury woman pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Monday, 3 December. The charges relate to two horses found in her care in May this year.

She has been fined $8000, and has been ordered to pay vet and care costs of $4812.70, in addition to legal costs of $277. The horses were forfeited to the Crown, and she has been prohibited from being in charge of horses for 2 years.

The offender now has  42 days to rehome the remaining horses currently in her ownership. 

The two horses were found to be emaciated, with their hips, spine and ribs clearly visible. The chestnut thoroughbred mare named Paris also had long, cracked hooves. The bay thoroughbred mare named Lightning had a large open mass on her left hind leg, was unsteady on her legs when she walked, and appeared to have a distended abdomen.

Paris has responded well to treatment and made a full recovery in foster care, but unfortunately, Lightning’s condition, despite vet care, deteriorated further and the attending vet determined the most humane course of action was to end her suffering.

In May 2018, an RSPCA WA Inspector attended a property in Leschenault after a report about the horses’ condition was made to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline. Upon inspection of the property, the Inspector found that there was no food being stored for the horses being agisted there by the offender, and there was minimal pasture in the paddocks where these two horses were kept.  The horses were seized by the Inspector that day.

The offender claimed she was visiting the property up to three times per week and that the horses had been getting hay, loosened chaff, oat chaff and muesli. However, veterinary examinations determined that both horses were emaciated and were suffering from other medical conditions which were suggestive of a lack of food.

Within seven days of being taken into care, Paris showed good signs of recovery, gaining 25kg in the first week. She was moved to an RSPCA foster carer’s property where she remains, awaiting rehoming.

Lightning’s condition however was worse. In addition to being emaciated, she had a chronic untreated wound on her left hind limb in addition to other health issues.   Three days after being rescued, she collapsed while in vet care and was unable to rise or respond to treatment. 

The attending vet concluded that both horses had been suffering for a period of several months due to neglect from a failure to provide adequate nutrition and horse husbandry in the form of a farrier, dentistry and veterinary care and deworming. The suffering of both horses could have been alleviated had reasonable steps been taken to provide food, proper husbandry and vet care.

Comments attributed to Maree Daniels, Executive Manager Community Engagement:

“While we are pleased that there has been some justice for Paris and Lightning, we are saddened that these horses had to suffer at all. And for Lightning, even the intervention of our Inspector and emergency treatment was not enough to save her.

“We receive so many calls about horses that are neglected in this way, with little or no access to food and lack of proper care. Let this be a reminder to everyone who owns a horse, or is thinking about getting a horse: they are a big responsibility. Horses require constant care and attention over many years – and the costs of keeping a horse can be considerable. Our message is clear – if you can’t commit to what it takes, please don’t take on a horse. And if you’re having trouble caring for your horse, seek help before it’s too late.

“Thanks to the caring member of the community who reported Paris and Lightning to us – we rely on you to be our eyes and ears on the ground and report animals who may be suffering. And our special thanks to the vet team and foster carers who have helped with Paris’s rehabilitation.”

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