GEORGE NEWS - With horse theft seemingly on the increase in George, all horse owners in the area have to be extra vigilant when it comes to the care and safety of their equines.
On Friday 24 May a horse was stolen from a farm in Herold's Bay. Luckily the animal, Taro, was found by his owner, Lazanne Thiart, in Conville the next morning after she received a tip-off.
The alleged horse thief jumped off and ran away when he was confronted. Taro had burn wounds to his leg where he was apparently burnt with a stick to coax him to climb over a partially cut fence.
"Taro has injuries to his mouth from using home-made tack. His hooves are extremely short and his feet are injured due to the distance he travelled along the railway line and tarred roads all the way to Conville," Thiart told the George Herald this week.
A case of horse theft has been opened and investigations by the stock theft unit are underway. No arrests have been made. It is alleged that Taro was stolen to compete in illegal bush racing activities in Conville.
Other injured horses found in Conville
On 22 April trainee SPCA inspector Andrea Auerbach received information about a horse lying in the rain next to the Conville Police Station.
On arrival she was met by a group of people, including the owner, surrounding the animal.
"The owner refused to surrender the horse. I treated her and said I would follow up later that day and the next day. She was in a lot of pain. She would get up, only to take two steps and fall back down. Her muscles were shaking and her heart rate was elevated," Auerbach said.
The following day Mark Ward of Have a Heart Equine Sanctuary contacted Auerbach and offered to help confiscate the horse. After negotiations the owner eventually surrendered the horse, Amber, to the SPCA.
Two other horses, Flicka and Spirit, who were also in excruciating pain, were confiscated from the same owner the following day. According to Auerbach the horses were given to the man by another horse owner in George a mere three weeks earlier so he could 'break them in'.
"She said she trusted him and boasted about his abilities and horsemanship in a post on Facebook."
A case of negligence has been opened against her by the SPCA.
Amber was diagnosed with azoturia, a condition caused by riding an unfit horse too hard and too fast for long periods. "We fought alongside her as best we could, but eventually after two weeks she started deteriorating and we decided to euthanise. Two massive abscesses were found in her hind feet. She also had stones embedded almost a centimetre into her hooves.
"Spirit was found to have an abscess in her right front hoof and less severe azoturia. Flicka had a nail driven into one of her soles due to a backyard farrier trying to shoe her."
A case of animal cruelty is being investigated. It is alleged that all three these horses were used for illegal bush racing in the Conville area.
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