10 August 2023

A 68-year-old woman has been charged with animal cruelty, after failing to seek vet care for her horse’s fractured hip.

RSPCA WA attended the woman’s property in Northam on 15 February, following a cruelty report about an elderly horse in poor condition.

The inspector found the Standardbred gelding in a sandy paddock at the back of the block. He was in poor condition, with visible hip bones, and could not walk on his left hind leg.

The inspector issued a written direction notice for the accused to seek urgent vet care for the horse. When she failed to comply, RSPCA WA seized the horse and took him to a vet hospital.

The accused lives in Mount Helena, but said she attended the Northam property twice a week. She said the horse’s leg had been injured ‘for years’ and that her husband wanted to have him euthanised, but she’d refused as he was ‘alright’.

A veterinary exam revealed the horse had a fractured hip, and significant muscle wastage around his pelvis and spine. The vet determined the horse was in unmanageable pain and the kindest option was to end his suffering.

The accused has been charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. RSPCA WA will allege the horse suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

The charge will be heard in Northam Magistrates Court on 14 August 2023.

The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty is a $50,000 fine and five years in jail.

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