5 April 2024

A 40-year-old woman from Champion Lakes has been fined a total of $6,000 for starving her two horses until they were ‘skin and bone’.

The offender was found guilty in Armadale Magistrates Court yesterday. She was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in court and care costs and was banned from contact with horses for five years.

RSPCA WA was alerted to the two male thoroughbreds, a 13-year-old named Mossy and a 10-year-old named Maverick, by a member of the public. An inspector attended the offender’s home on 28 December 2022, and found both horses in very poor condition, with the outline of their ribs, hips, and spines visible.

The offender admitted Mossy and Maverick were ‘pretty much skin and bone’, but said she believed this was due to a virus. She said the horses had been seen by a vet six weeks prior, but RSPCA WA found no record of recent treatment.

The inspector called a vet to the property to examine Mossy and Maverick. She confirmed both horses were extremely emaciated, with significant muscle wastage, and needed immediate treatment.

RSPCA WA removed Mossy and Maverick and took them to a vet, where they underwent testing which did not show a viral infection. With proper feeding, both have reached a healthy weight in RSPCA WA’s care.

In sentencing, Magistrate Kevin Tavener said “starving is a harmful process” which was “clearly distressing for the horses”.

Mr Tavener said the horses were clearly not fed to a level to maintain their bodyweight as other medical problems had been ruled out, and the emaciated states of the horses could have been “easily remedied”.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said Mossy and Maverick’s condition was appalling.

“You could see almost every bone in their bodies,” she said.

“It was well past the point where the offender should have reached out for help.

“While we understand many owners are being hit by cost-of-living pressures at the moment, our animals do not deserve to starve or suffer as a result.

“It’s your responsibility as an owner to speak up if you can no longer cope with your animal’s care.”

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1),19(3)(d) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found Mossy and Maverick were not provided with proper and sufficient food, and they suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps. A forfeiture order was also made for Mossy.

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.