Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Horse sanctuary owner prosecuted after neglecting pony

Horse sanctuary owner prosecuted after neglecting a pony in her care


An Auckland woman has been sentenced after neglecting a pony in her care, causing the pony prolonged and unnecessary pain.

Debbie Barker pleaded guilty in the Waitakere District Court to one charge of ill-treatment of a pony in her care named Toppa, causing the pony unreasonable and unnecessary pain and distress. On Friday she was sentenced to three months’ community detention, 100 hours’ community work, disqualified from owning any animals for 6 years, ordered to pay reparations of $860.45 and $282 in solicitors costs.

SPCA has received multiple previous complaints regarding the condition of Horse Havan horses and paddocks, dating as far back as 2008.

This case began in October 2016, when SPCA Inspectors visited Horse Havan and observed Toppa the pony who had light body condition, had all four overgrown hooves, and was walking abnormally. They left a notice of entry requesting the defendant to urgently contact SPCA, and instructed that Toppa’s hooves needed urgent attention.

The defendant contacted the Inspectors and claimed a veterinarian and farrier had assessed Toppa, but the Inspectors later established that the vet was only asked to inspect Toppa’s eyes, and not her hooves. The defendant also told SPCA Inspectors that Toppa had her hooves treated two weeks ago and the hooves cycled between good and bad.

A week later, SPCA Inspectors again visited Toppa, who was now reluctant to move, and her hooves had not been treated as required or as claimed. The inspectors left another notice of entry requesting urgent contact. No contact was made and the inspectors returned and that day, brought an equine veterinarian to examine the pony.

The vet observed that Toppa was lame in both front feet, with severe laminitis, which can cause the animal intolerable suffering. The way Toppa’s feet were misshapen indicated she had been suffering for a considerable period of time. The vet also said that any lay person could and would see Toppa’s gait and appearance was abnormal. As the condition was so severe and was not able to be treated, on the vet’s recommendation, Toppa was humanely euthanised in order to end her suffering.

The defendant claimed that Toppa was on painkillers and had been seen by a vet many times in the time she had lived at Horse Havan, and that the condition was seasonal. However, the defendant could not outline when Toppa had last been seen by a vet and was not able to produce any records. Enquiries by inspectors did not uncover information to support her claims.

“Any organisation that purports to be a sanctuary, rescue operation, or animal shelter has a duty of care to the animals in their custody. Good intentions are not enough,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“In this case, Toppa was left to suffer for a long time, her condition worsening while she was at Horse Havan. The fact that her condition would have been obvious to any lay person is particularly distressing, as her pain was ignored by those at Horse Havan who should have known better.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Commerce Commission: Retail Fuel "Not As Competitive As It Could Be"

The Commission has outlined some options it considers could improve competition. There are two broad sets of options it thinks may have the potential to help create a competitive wholesale market. These are:

• Greater contractual freedom to make it easier for resellers to switch between suppliers; and
• Enabling wider participation in the majors’ joint infrastructure, notably the shared terminals and supporting logistics involved in their borrow-and-loan system.
Further options, including improving the transparency of premium petrol prices, are discussed in the draft report. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Bad Mail

Cabinet was updated on the process around prisoners sending mail, following the accused Christchurch gunman sending letters that "should have been stopped". All mail of "high concern prisoners" will now be checked by a specialist team and a changes to the legal criteria for witholding mail are expecting to go to a cabinet committee in this parliamentary session. More>>

Welfare: Ongoing Drug-Test Sanctions Contradicts Govt’s Rhetoric

Reports that two-thirds of beneficiaries who fail drug tests are still having their benefit sanctioned contradicts the Government’s so-called health approach to drugs. More>>


Welfare: More Measures To Help Those Facing Homelessness

Ministers have announced $54 million in Government funding for initiatives which will support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancies. The funding will also provide additional wrap around services. More>>


Corrections: New Strategy On Māori Reoffending And imprisonment

Authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau are key elements of Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. More>>





InfoPages News Channels