9 October 2023

A 69-year-old woman has been fined $4000 and banned from owning horses for two years after neglecting her horse so badly that he had to be euthanised.

In sentencing, Magistrate Sarah Oliver said this was a ‘serious example of this offence’, that the offender did not show remorse and that her guilty plea was a plea of convenience.

The Standardbred gelding named Star had a broken hip, and the offender admitted he had been injured ‘for years’.

RSPCA WA attended the woman’s property in Northam on 15 February to investigate a report about an elderly horse in poor condition. The inspector found Star in a sandy paddock at the back of the property.

He was in poor condition, limping and clearly in pain.

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

The offender lives in Mount Helena, but said she attended the Northam property twice a week. She admitted her husband wanted to have Star euthanised, but she’d refused as he was ‘alright’.

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

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said it was blatantly clear that Star was in pain.

‘It took a matter of minutes for our inspector to identify that Star was suffering,’ she said.

‘The offender was aware of her horse’s injury. She chose to ignore it for months on end by her own admission, which is hard to comprehend.

‘When you limit a horse’s ability to stand, walk and move, you completely diminish their quality of life.

‘If you can’t give your animal the level of care they deserve, you must reach out for help sooner rather than later. I’m glad we were able to get some justice for Star today.’

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

The offender was also ordered to pays $3687 in costs.

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