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Rodeo Operators Fined For Ill-Treating Horse

Rodeo Operators Fined $10,000 For Ill-Treating Horse

The suffering of a starving horse today (Friday) led to a $10.000 fine for a group of Northland rodeo operators.

The Kaitaia Rodeo Association had pleaded guilty to wilfully ill-treating an animal after the Royal New Zealand SPCA brought a prosecution in the Kaitaia District Court over a mare used for breeding rodeo horses.

The court heard that Kaitaia Rodeo Association Chairman Alex Tracey found the mare in an extremely emaciated state when disposing of a foal which had died because its mother was too skinny to provide milk.

Tracey, the court was told, commenced making arrangements for the return of the starving horse to its original owner but took no steps to call in a veterinarian or to relieve the horse's suffering.

A veterinarian subsequently found the mare to also be suffering from severely overgrown and cracked hooves. The horse was lying on her side, unable to rise and had cuts, bruises and skin loss. She was put-down humanely by the vet, to prevent further suffering.

When fining the Kaitaia Rodeo Association $10,000 plus $130 Court Costs, Judge Thomas Everitt described the case as very disturbing, adding that it was not a case of mere omission but of long term neglect.

Judge Everitt said that he was conscious that the Rodeo Association was a non-profit making organization. Had the Association been in the business of making a profit from animals, the penalty would have been far more severe.

Royal New Zealand SPCA Inspector, James Boyd, who brought the prosecution, describes the neglect of the mare as appalling.

"The 1999 Animal Welfare Act makes it quite clear that those in charge of animals are responsible for their care," he says.

"To allow the horse to deteriorate into the condition in which it was found was one thing but to walk away without giving it some assistance was unforgivable.

"Organisations which use animals for sport or entertainment are role models for certain sections of society. In this instance, the Rodeo Association let society down seriously. If it can't get its act together, it should cease to exist," he adds.

Ends


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