RSPCA Victoria has successfully prosecuted a 66-year-old Victorian woman, for committing acts of cruelty to animals.
Over the course of the investigation RSPCA Vic Inspectors seized more than 100 horses and ponies from the property in the Ararat council region due to serious concerns for their welfare in 2016.
The woman was then found guilty of 54 charges under Section 9 (1) (i) (f) (b) and (c) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1986) by the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19 July 2023.
The charges included but were not 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,
• Failing to provide the animals with proper and sufficient drink,
• Confining animals where the confinement of the animal caused or was likely to cause unreasonable pain and suffering to those animals.
The Magistrate has ordered her to pay a $20,000 fine, awarded RSPCA Victoria $80,000 in costs and she has been permanently disqualified from owning or being the person in charge of any horses and ponies.
She has previously been found guilty of similar charges in both Victoria and New South Wales.
Speaking about the verdict, RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the Court’s decision was a strong result for animal welfare in Victoria.
“Cruelty to animals is absolutely unacceptable, and to see it on this scale is appalling,” Mr Stagg said.
“It’s great to see the severity of these offenses recognised through the permanent disqualification and fine.
“This sends a strong message that RSPCA Victoria and the Victorian community do not and will not accept cruelty to animals.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate has done in this case to ensure these animals are no longer subjected to this type of cruelty, and this person has been held to account.”
Many of the horses and ponies seized were given to horse rescue groups or adopted out by RSPCA Victoria.
Mr Stagg went on to say reports received from the community were vital to ensuring animal cruelty and neglect were investigated to improve the welfare of animals throughout Victoria.
“It was originally through a passer-by raising concerns with local council these animals were discovered living in these conditions and we were able to get them the care they needed,” Mr Stagg said.
“Every incident of animal cruelty is serious, and the Victorian public is the RSPCA’s eyes and ears when it comes to these matters.
“We encourage anyone with information about any animal cruelty to make a report to the RSPCA with all matters reported by the public investigated.”
The relevant offences are under Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and anyone found guilty of such an offence can face fines of up to $48,077.50 or 12 months’ imprisonment.
Anyone with concerns for the welfare of an animal is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 03 9224 2222 or submit a report at rspcavic.org/cruelty-report immediately.