18 July 2023

A 41-year-old woman from Margaret River has been fined $4000, after her miniature pony was found with severely overgrown and painful hooves.

The offender appeared in Busselton Magistrates Court today where she was also banned from owning horses for three years, with the exception of being able to keep three she already owns. The offender was also ordered to pay $3473.46 in court and care costs to RSPCA WA.

An RSPCA WA inspector attended a property in Cowaramup on 10 October 2022, after receiving a cruelty report. She found the 14-year-old pony, named Magic, in an overgrown paddock with no access to water.

He was hunched over and struggling to walk or stand.

The inspector called in an external vet, who noted Magic’s hooves were excessively overgrown due to chronic neglect.

She also found he was suffering from laminitis–a condition causing inflammation inside the hoof–which would have been present for at least six months.

The vet advised Magic was in extreme pain and required immediate treatment. RSPCA WA seized Magic due to suspected animal welfare offences. He was provided pain relief before being removed from the property.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said regular hoof care for horses was non-negotiable.

‘Hoof care is not about appearances, it’s a basic health requirement,’ she said.

‘Overgrown hooves and laminitis can be excruciating for a horse. When you limit a horse’s ability to stand, walk and move, you completely diminish their quality of life.’

Ms Green said Magic’s condition had improved considerably in foster care with RSPCA WA, however the consequences of his neglect would likely be lifelong.

‘Magic is so much happier and healthier,’ she said.

‘It’s sad that there will be ongoing issues associated with his prolonged neglect. But we’re happy to say he has now been adopted by a committed owner and will live a life free from pain and discomfort.’

RSPCA WA thanks Dr Alex Rees from Cape Equine Veterinary services for her assistance in this matter.

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found Magic suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

The RSPCA relies on the community to report incidents of suspected cruelty and neglect. Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or at rspcawa.org.au