68 horses found starving or dead near Lesotho border

2019-07-08 20:00
One of the horses that is still able to stand. (Supplied)

One of the horses that is still able to stand. (Supplied)

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Sixty eight horses belonging to the Lesotho government's military were found to be in a terrible state of health in South Africa, the Bloemfontein SPCA said on Monday.

"It is actually heartbreaking. It's shocking as well," said Inspector Tebogo Maswanganye from the Bloemfontein SPCA.

"You can see that their spirit has been broken. Their mouths were just hanging." 

A case of animal cruelty was opened with the police after the horses had been denied food or care, and the people who were supposed to look after them did not ask for any help when it became clear they needed food and veterinary care.

This discovery of the horses on June 21 followed a complaint to the SPCA and a visit to the plot in a remote area near Hobhouse, which is close to the South African border.

Maswanganye said nine horses had already died, and three were lying on the ground, starving and dehydrated, with no food or grass to eat in their camp.

READ: SPCA determined that Cape Town dog killers get punished

The three were euthanised immediately by the Bloemfontein SPCA inspectors.

The horses they found were either blind, or had broken hooves, cancerous spots, skin problems or were emaciated. 

Distressing pictures show the carcasses of the horses who died.

"After further investigation, they were found to belong to the Lesotho government's army. There was only one commander on duty on the farm who had to look after the animals," said Maswanganyi.

A warning was issued to care for them properly, but on a return visit on June 24, nothing much had been done, except that they had been moved from one side of the veld to the other. 

"I could see that they were suffering," he said.

The remaining horses were removed to the Bloemfontein SPCA and many more were euthanised.

Of the remaining horses, he said they show no sign of emotion or energy yet. 

"Their soul is completely broken and they are very down." 

"It is a shame that so many horses can die because of hunger while they are under the care of humans. It is absolutely cruel, on the contrary, it is absolutely shocking." 

In the meantime, the SPCA in Bloemfontein has put out an urgent request for donations to help nurse the remaining horses back to health. The details are on their website.

Comment from the Lesotho government will be added once received. 

Read more on:    spca  |  lesotho
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