Woman convicted of animal cruelty for starving horses

A 41-year-old Kooringal woman was convicted and sentenced in her absence at Wagga Wagga Local Court on 21 July 2021 after pleading guilty to multiple animal cruelty charges.

The charges included failing to provide veterinary treatment and failing to provide proper and sufficient food to three horses in poor body condition.

RSPCA NSW attended a Lake Albert property on 3 June 2021 after the defendant failed to comply with previously issued instructions relating to seven horses and ponies in her care.

An external veterinarian and an RSPCA NSW inspector found the horses located within a single, barren paddock on the property. There were no visible signs of drinking water or edible material, and it was infested with Paterson’s Curse, a weed that is toxic to horses, causing gut inflammation, decreased liver function, and eventual death if excessively consumed.

The skeletal outline of one Appaloosa stallion in the paddock was visible to the inspector and vet from a distance.

The Appaloosa stallion, a Paint Horse stallion and a Palomino mare were promptly transported to the Sydney University Equine Hospital for urgent veterinary treatment of severe rain scald, gum ulcerations, and to investigate their poor body condition.

The horses were determined to be in poor body condition, with the vet assessing them as being 1.5/5 where 1 is emaciated and 5 is overweight. The Paint Horse stallion and Palomino mare had to be monitored closely for potential liver failure.

Each horse gradually gained over 50 kilograms in weight following their admission to the clinic.


Hips and tailbone prominent with condition rainscalding present.   

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Palomino mare (front) and Paint Horse Stallion in poor body condition. 


RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said, “The defendant had the opportunity to help these animals but chose to deny them the care they need and deserve”.

“Providing your animals with adequate food and water is a responsibility all pet owners need to fulfil.”

The defendant was fined $3000.00 and ordered to pay $8,973.90 in veterinary, shelter, and court costs. She was also prohibited from purchasing, acquiring, taking possession or custody of any horse for a 12-month period.


GRAPHIC IMAGES WARNING. Images are available for download here.

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


RSPCA NSW is a community-based, not-for-profit, animal welfare charity that protects, cares for, treats and rehomes animals across New South Wales.

Since 1928, the RSPCA NSW Inspectorate performs a statutory role in enforcing state animal cruelty legislation. Over 35 dedicated inspectors investigate complaints against all types of animals, in all kinds of situations. The Inspectorate exists first and foremost to help people help their animals, and it is their intent to keep animals with their owners when it is in the animal’s best interest to do so. They are empowered to deal with serious animal cruelty offences by the use of statutory powers and enforcement action.

Report animal cruelty via 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589) OR online at: https://www.rspcansw.org.au/contact/report-a-cruelty-case