RSPCA has successfully prosecuted a Shepparton man for animal cruelty, after his horses and ponies were found to be injured and starved over a prolonged period.
In 2021, RSPCA Victoria received a report from a community member, alleging several underweight horses on the property.
RSPCA Inspectors attended on numerous occasions and observed insufficient pasture to sustain the number of horses, and three dogs living in squalid conditions without sufficient water. Several animals were subsequently seized by Inspectors.
A local vet noted one pony had been suffering for an extended period, with a post-mortem examination confirming a broken shoulder, which was untreated for at least eight weeks.
An additional vet noted one of the horses was observed with a heavy parasite burden and malnutrition, stating it would have taken weeks to get into such poor condition.
The man plead guilty to several charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 by the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on 20 November 2023.
The charges included but weren’t limited to:
- Unreasonably failing to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment to animals
- Failing to provide the animals with proper and sufficient food
- Confining animals where the confinement of the animal caused or was likely to cause unreasonable pain and suffering to those animals
RSPCA was granted costs and secured a two-year disqualification order against dog and horse ownership for the man. He was also fined and convicted.
RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Team Leader North East region, Michelle Green said this case was another example of the neglect Inspectors encounter daily across the state.
“Unfortunately, this type of animal cruelty is seen regularly by our teams, and no animal deserves to suffer like these horses and dogs did,” Team Leader Green said.
“We urge all Victorian animal owners to be aware of their legal obligations and ensure they provide sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment to all animals in their care.”
The relevant offences are under Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. Anyone found guilty of these offences can face fines of up to $48,077.50 or 12 months’ imprisonment.
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org/cruelty-report/ or on 03 9224 2222.