Unit rescues eight neglected horses, two euthanased

2014-12-11 00:00

EIGHT “malnourished” horses were rescued from a stud farm near Mooi River on Monday after an owner made allegations of animal neglect.

The horses were rescued by the Coastal Horse Care Unit, which had to euthanase two of the animals.

Coastal Horse Care Unit spokesperson Gillian ­Olmesdahl said the unit was contacted a few weeks ago by a couple who stabled their horse at the farm.

She said the couple had been shocked at the condition the horse returned in and asked the unit to investigate.

“We visited the farm last week and took a vet with us to do checkups and we were horrified,” she said.

Olmesdahl added that the horses were transported to the unit’s farm.

“The foal we had to euthanase was badly emaciated and weak. The vet told us his organs were failing,” she said.

Olmesdahl said the other horse they had to put down had lived with a broken shoulder for two years and was in a huge amount of pain.

The owner of the farm, who would not be named, said most of the horses taken by the unit had medical problems and injuries predating their ownership of the farm.

The owner said she had surrendered the horses because she wanted to close down the farm and realised the horses were not in optimal health.

“They are not in the best condition but I would not let any animal get to such a state that they are on the verge of death,” she said.

Olmesdahl said although they were mandated to take 12 horses, five were left behind as their condition was not dire.

She said the owner called her yesterday afternoon to collect the other five horses within the next two weeks.

An expert who went with the unit to collect the animals, who requested anonymity, said the horses were in a very poor condition.

“The horses we moved were very thin and undernourished. They are definitely SPCA cases,” he said.

The owner said the animals had been struggling for months with medical issues and she had been unable to correct their condition by the time they were surrendered.

“The one horse battled with worms since he was young. We were de-worming him every four weeks, but the worms kept coming back,” she said.

Olmesdahl said although the case was prosecutable, they would not press charges as long as the horses were under the unit’s care.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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