Friday, August 30, 2013

ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES: Custodial sentence for horse handler found guilty of aggravated cruelty

A local Box Hill man appeared in Windsor Local Court on Thursday 29 August 2013 and was sentenced after pleading guilty to six charges of animal cruelty against four horses, and being found guilty on two charges of animal cruelty against a mare and a foal. He was convicted, fined and received a seven month custodial sentence and a prohibition order.

On 25 May 2012 an RSPCA NSW Inspector attended a Vineyard property in relation to concerns over horses in poor condition. During this attendance six horses and two foals were sighted and a notification was left asking the accused to contact the RSPCA.

On 29 May the RSPCA returned to the paddock after failing to hear from the accused and found that the RSPCA notifications had been removed. Inspectors returned the next day to find the horses had been removed.  Inspectors located the horses in a paddock in Schofields and after confirming they were the horses in question, Inspectors seized the four due to their poor body condition, with ribs, hip bones and spines visible. Veterinary examination showed the horses to have a body score of 2 (based on the Huntington condition scales where 0 is emaciated and 5 is very fat), one had a moderate parasite burden and all required dental work.

On 18 August 2012, an RSPCA Inspector attended the Vineyard property in response to a complaint regarding a mare and foal in poor body condition. The Inspector found a pinto colt, a palomino mare and a dark brown grey foal on the property. The mare was in poor body condition and the foal was in very poor body condition, with the foal unsteady on its legs and a pussy looking wound on its right hindquarter.

On 19 August 2012, the RSPCA attended the paddock in the company of a horse handler. The mare and foal were caught and seized for their condition and the foal’s injury.

After veterinary examination the filly was given a body score of 0.5. The filly also had a long winter coat which was unkempt. Tests revealed the filly had a reduced caloric intake for at least a period of two months before presentation and an extremely heavy parasite burden for at least a period of two months before presentation and required veterinary treatment. The heavy parasite burden contributed to her poor body condition. X-rays of the filly’s right hind-limb revealed a catastrophic femoral fracture, with complete displacement of the femoral head and acetabulum (hip socket). The prognosis for this catastrophic fracture was hopeless and the filly was humanely euthanased.

The Box Hill man pleaded GUILTY and was convicted of eight charges of animal cruelty, fined $7,860 in court fees, $17,996.93 in vet & boarding coats $10,500 in professional fees and received a seven month custodial sentence (non-parole period of five months and seven days), and a five year prohibition on all animals.

List of charges
  • Failure to provide proper and sufficient food  (two charges)
  • Failure to provide vet treatment – worm burden (two charges)
  • Failure to provide vet treatment – dental (one charge)
  • Failure to provide vet treatment – wound (one charge)
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment – heavy parasite burden (one charge)
  • Aggravated cruelty (one charge)

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