Repeat Offender Convicted of Committing Acts of Cruelty After Failing to Feed and Seek Veterinary Treatment for Four Emaciated Horses in Her Care

A 41-year-old woman has been convicted of animal cruelty at Singleton Local Court after failing to provide proper and sufficient food for four emaciated horses in her care, as well as failing to provide them with veterinary treatment for multiple health conditions.

On 23 August 2023, RSPCA NSW Inspectors attended a property in the Putty region in response to a report concerning several horses. Upon examination, welfare concerns for four of the horses were raised. The owner of the animals was not home at the time of inspection.

The following day, RSPCA NSW Inspectors returned to the property, accompanied by a veterinarian. The attending veterinarian noted that the paddocks the horses were kept in were mostly dirt, with little to no grass growth, and confirmed that four of the horses were severely underweight.

The horses were seized and transported to an RSPCA NSW veterinary hospital for medical treatment and care, where the following was observed:

  • Two horses were assigned body condition scores of 0 out of 5 based on the modified Huntington scale, where 0 is emaciated and 2-3 is ideal.
  • Two horses were assigned body condition scores of 1 out of 5 based on the modified Huntington scale.
  • Two horses were suffering from Dermatophytosis (rain scald).

The horses were placed on a veterinarian directed feeding plan that included a gradual increase in calorie content and received treatment for rain scald.

On 28 August 2023, four days after their seizure, an RSPCA NSW Inspector spoke to the defendant over the phone. The defendant confirmed that she was the owner of the four horses and stated that she could not recall the last time the horses had seen a vet. She also maintained, despite the horses’ emaciated condition, that she had provided them with food each day.

Whilst in care, RSPCA NSW sought the expertise of an equine specialist to further examine the seized horses. In facts tendered on sentence, the veterinarian outlined the following issues observed upon examination:

  • Proper and sufficient food had not been provided to all four horses for a period of at least six to eight weeks.
  • Veterinary treatment for rain scald had not been provided for a period of at least six weeks.
  • All horses had sharp, overgrown cheek teeth with one horse also suffering from severe periodontal disease. It was apparent the horses had not had any form of dental care for several years.

The equine specialist noted that the rain scald on two of the seized horses was resolving with veterinary treatment and the body condition of all four horses had improved since being in the care of RSPCA NSW.


Horse Before 1

Grey pony gelding on day of seizure. Body condition score 1/5 (modified Huntington scale). 


Horse After 1

Grey Pony gelding, seven weeks post-seizure under RSPCA NSW care.  


These offences were aggravated by the fact that the defendant is a repeat offender.

RSPCA NSW had earlier prosecuted the defendant for similar offences committed in 2021, and she was convicted and placed on a two-year Community Corrections Order (CCO) and a five-year disqualification order was also imposed.

After the defendant failed to appear in court on 30 November and 15 December 2023, she was found guilty in her absence.

The defendant filed an annulment application, seeking to have the convictions overturned, however it was refused.

On 11 April 2024, the defendant was brought back for re-sentencing as she had breached the original CCO.

Taking into consideration the re-offending, the Magistrate, determined to revoke the Community Corrections Order, re-sentenced the defendant for both sets of offending to an aggregate sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, to be served in the community by way of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Conditions of that order were also imposed, requiring the defendant to perform 200 hours of community service work.

The defendant was ordered to dispose of any other animals in her care within 28 days. She was further disqualified from purchasing, acquiring, or keeping animals for five years.

Veterinary care and shelter costs in the sum of $19082.15 were also awarded to RSPCA NSW.

Speaking to the defendant, the Magistrate addressed the seriousness of the woman’s actions and reiterated that these horses were unable to help themselves, they were vulnerable, and, as an owner, she had failed them by allowing them to suffer for an extended period of time.

Appearing before Singleton Local Court, RSPCA NSW General Counsel Kathryn Jurd made submissions that animal owners must ensure their animals are fed and watered properly and veterinary treatment is provided where necessary.

“However over and above those quite minimal standards, there is an expectation that Court orders will be complied with. The further re-offending by not only breaching a Court order, but doing so in circumstances where more animals suffered, is unacceptable,” said Ms Jurd.

All four horses remain in the care of RSPCA NSW where they have continued to receive all necessary treatment and care.


GRAPHIC IMAGES WARNING. Images are available for download here.

All charges brought under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.


If you have animal welfare concerns, please call RSPCA NSW to investigate on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or make a report online at: