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Collie couple sentenced over animal cruelty to their horse

Rio found at the property.
Photo: Supplied

A Collie couple have faced court over their horse which was found neglected and malnourished after reports were made by concerned residents to the RSPCA.

The couple, both 20, pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the Collie Magistrates Court on Wednesday for cruelty to their horse, a thoroughbred stallion named Rio.

The charges relate to a cruelty report made in May, 2018.

Each offender has been fined $2000 and both are prohibited from being in charge of any horse or pony for five years.

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Each of them will have to reimburse legal costs of $102.65 and veterinary costs of $770.47. 

The offenders were granted a spent conviction. 

The RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said that it angers her when people take horses on without being able to care for them properly and urged anyone who’s struggling to seek help.

“It angers me to see people take on horses without the means to care for them properly, she said.

“Horses are high maintenance and require a level of care much higher than other pets.

“While they might be easy to come by, please don’t take on a horse if you’re not financially prepared for their upkeep.

“It’s saddens me to think of the way Rio spent his last days.

“If you’re struggling to care for your horses, please ask for help before it gets out of hand, as it did in this case.” The Chief Inspector said.

On May 29, 2018, an RSPCA WA Inspector attended the offenders’ property in Collie in response to a report made to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline by a concerned member of the community. 

On arrival, the inspector found Rio in a small fenced off area, and observed that he had poor body condition; his ribs, hips and spine were clearly visible.

The horse was also observed “wind sucking” and eating faeces.

The inspector could not see any hay or horse feed on the property. 

Rio was immediately seized by the RSPCA inspector and taken to a local vet for care and treatment.

The vet confirmed the horse was in an emaciated condition and that “wind sucking” was an abnormal behaviour which is caused by acute and chronic stressful situations or events.

The horse was suffering from extreme loss of body condition and muscle wastage due to chronic inadequate nutritional intake.

Two days after being taken into care, Rio’s condition deteriorated to the point that he could no longer stand up or raise his head.

After undergoing a thorough examination and initial treatment the vet made the decision to end Rio’s suffering on humane grounds.

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