RSPCA prosecutes owners of 21 horses for serious neglect

Published on 29 March 2022

Owners prosecuted for underweight, ill and injured horses

Two co-owners of 21 horses were last month prosecuted in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court for serious animal neglect, resulting in significant fines and a disqualification order banning them from owning any animals for a period of five years.

After receiving a cruelty report, an RSPCA Victoria Inspector attended a property in the Ballarat region and found multiple horses in a state of neglect, requiring food and veterinary attention. The owners were issued with three Notices to Comply, instructing them to improve feeding and seek veterinary attention for the animals.

The co-accused failed to comply with the notices and subsequently Inspectors attended with a veterinarian to further assess the animals. Most were found to be in poor body condition, with several suffering from injury or illness. Following this assessment, the owners chose to surrender eleven ponies and horses to RSPCA Victoria.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, any person in charge of an animal is required to provide food, water and shelter, as well as appropriate husbandry and veterinary attention as required.

Michael Stagg, Chief Inspector at RSPCA Victoria, said horse neglect is a serious welfare concern in Victoria.

“Last financial year we received over 1,100 cruelty reports involving horses. It is extremely concerning that these numbers remain unacceptably high, particularly in relation to cases stemming from neglect.

“Horse owners need to ensure they are regularly monitoring the condition of their horses to identify changes in weight or health. If owners notice deterioration, it is their legal and moral responsibility to seek advice or treatment,” said Mr Stagg

The co-accused were fined $5,000 each and placed on a community correction order for 18 months, in addition to the five-year banning order.

“RSPCA Victoria is pleased the Magistrate saw the seriousness of this case and acknowledged the suffering these horses would have experienced. We hope this case serves as a reminder to horse owners of their responsibilities,” said Mr Stagg.

RSPCA Victoria encourages people to ask for help if they can no longer provide adequate care for their horses. There is no shame in surrendering an animal to provide them with a second chance at a good life.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via or by calling 9224 2222.

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