City blamed for police horse losing an eye

2013-11-21 00:00

A METRO police horse that has lost an eye due to an infection, is the victim of the city’s failure to provide a contractor to look after the animals timeously.

This accusation was made yesterday by a company previously tasked with taking care of the horses. The eThekwini Municipality is yet to appoint a contractor, after the previous contract expired almost a month ago.

The municipal executive council has now approved R500 000 to erect proper fencing to keep the metro horses from moving over to the neighbouring stables, but no call was made yet on awarding the contract.

For the past three weeks, it has been left to members of the Mounted Police Unit to monitor of the grooming and care of the horses.

But it is not only the horses that are suffering. According to Samwu provincial secretary Jaycee Ncanana, the dogs used by the Metro Police are “starving” because dog food is not ordered in time.

The horse Wild Boy was previously also in the news when he sank in loose sand while being ridden on Durban’s Ushaka Beach in August by his handler Inspector Jeffrey Gunter.

Last week, Wild Boy had to be rushed to the Coastal Veterinary Services with a recurring eye infection when medication failed to improve his condition.

The veterinary made the heart-wrenching decision to have the horse’s eye removed.

Senior officers pointed fingers at Innocent Chamane, manager of the Metro Police Support Services, for the sad state of affairs in the managing of police’s dog kennels and horse stables.

“Chamane terminated the contract with the Newmarket Stable and Equestrian Centre operators who had looked after Wild Boy. These guys had been grooming the horses for over 10 years,” they said.

The Witness yesterday spent two hours with police while they cleaned up the stables.

During the visit, it was evident the paddock and stables need maintenance. Roof tiles are missing, stable doors are missing strips of wood.

Of the 14 horses in the unit, two are in hospital, one with colic. Two casual workers currently assist horse riders with feeding and cleaning.

Equis Veterinary Practice director Dr Carla Langley said despite Wild Boy losing his eye, he can still perform police duties. “The horse can respond like a human with one eye. They are quick to adjust.”

The Witness spoke to several private horse owners who share the stable with the city who said they felt the management of the municipal horses was poor.

A metro police spokesperson said he was not aware of the problems experienced by these specialised units, but promised to follow up on it.

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