19 May 2021

A 30-year-old Collie woman has pleaded guilty to cruelty to two horses found in poor condition on her property in 2019.

The offender is the third person to be convicted of horse-related cruelty in Collie this year. Her charges were brought under section 19(3)(d) and (h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

She received a fine of $22,500 and has been prohibited from owning, or being in contact with, horses for a period of 10 years. The offender was also ordered to pay care and treatment costs of $3657.70 to RSPCA WA, and court costs of $325.70.

The cruelty report received by the RSPCA described one of the horses as ‘ridiculously underweight’ and the other as ‘kind of ok’.

Collie Magistrates Court heard the RSPCA WA inspectors who attended the property found a bay gelding, Sunny, and a chestnut mare, Xanadu, without any water and just half a round bale of poor quality hay in the paddock. The inspectors filled a bucket with water and gave it to the horses who drank thirstily, even trying to ‘suck’ water from the ground when they kicked the bucket over.

Sunny, a gelding, was found extremely emaciated by RSPCA WA Inspectors  Sunny was described as ridiculously underweight when rescued by RSPCA WA Inspectors

Local vets were called and both horses started to tremble and spasm. When the vets arrived they noted Sunny (pictured above) had signs of severe starvation, emaciation and dehydration along with an irregular heartbeat and other signs of ill health. Xanadu had signs of dehydration and physiological stress, and other health issues.

The horses were seized and taken to Collie Veterinary Services where further examination showed signs of progressive deterioration in Sunny’s neurological condition as well as acute renal failure and a rapidly dropping core body temperature. Sunny continued to convulse overnight and the consulting vet determined the best course of action for Sunny was humane euthanasia to end his suffering.

Xanadu (pictured below) was found to be underweight and dehydrated with long and badly cracked hooves and poor teeth. She was started on a course of treatment and has since fully recovered and has been adopted.

RSPCA WA Inspectors found mare Xanadu was skinny and had signs of dehydration when rescued  Xanadu, a mare rescued by RSPCA WA Inspectors, has made a full recovery

Executive Manager Animal and Enforcement Operations, Hannah Dreaver, said she was sickened by the continual cases of horse cruelty being reported.

“Horses are expensive and need lots of specialised care,” Hannah said.

“If you can’t afford a horse, don’t get one. And if you find at any stage you can’t look after your horse properly any more, get help. There’s no pretty way to say it: This offender effectively starved Sunny to death and Xanadu would have suffered the same fate if someone hadn’t called the RSPCA.

“It’s heart-breaking to think how long they were left so hungry and thirsty and there is absolutely no excuse for not asking for help.”

Hannah thanked Cathryn Palfrey, Sam Rumenos and Sarah Herford from law firm K&L Gates for their pro bono services, and Collie Veterinary Hospital for their assistance in this case.

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 online here.