The CHCU removed five horses, saying their alleged neglect was severe enough to warrant confiscation.
The Unit had begun monitoring the animals in May this year, after several complaints were made by the public about their poor physical appearance. On an inspection to the property in July, an elderly mare was found to be emaciated and infected with dermatitis, and was later euthanized. At that stage, the other horses were deemed healthy.
However, as the CHCU continued to monitor the animals, they witnessed deterioration in their health. Despite several notices from them to the resort, the horses’ conditions did not improve. According to the inspector, an inspection at the end of September revealed that at least two of the horses “had dropped to a point that their condition was prosecutable” [sic] and almost all had deteriorated physically.
The CHCU consequently recommended a vet be called in to assess the horse and it was found they needed urgent medical attention. Apart from the vet finding that they were undernourished and underweight, five of the 11 had dermatitis, tick and worm infestations and overgrown hooves.
The resort was taken over by new owners last year and purportedly, had not yet employed anyone with adequate knowledge of horses or equine healthcare. In addition, the horses were being used for trail riding so needed specialised care to be able to be ridden, but allegedly were not receiving sufficient attention. It was suggested that five of the horses be taken to an intensive care facility to recover, after further deterioration. However, the CHCU said this suggestion was ignored, despite offers of assistance and “numerous phone calls” from the CHCU. A warrant for their removal was subsequently obtained and the horses were taken to the rehabilitation facility in Cato Ridge and put into intensive care.
The manager of the CHCU said one of the horses, a thoroughbred, “has possible liver damage and may have died if left without medical attention”.
Since their confiscation, the horses are doing well.
The neglect of the horses is a criminal offence and the CHCU has opened a case, with the intention to prosecute.