Severity appeal withdrawn by Greenacre man convicted of aggravated animal cruelty

A 38-year-old Greenacre man has withdrawn his severity appeal from Campbelltown District Court on 20 November 2020. The original conviction and orders of the Local Court for one act of aggravated cruelty and failure to provide vet treatment to one mare were confirmed.

After hearing evidence from both parties, the District Court Judge issued a PARKER warning – that is, a warning that the Judge is considering increasing the sentence imposed in the Local Court, which provides the appellant with an opportunity to withdraw their appeal rather than risking a more severe penalty. The offender availed himself of that opportunity and his appeal was withdrawn and dismissed.

The man was originally convicted after he entered a plea of guilty on the day of hearing to an offence of committing an act of aggravated cruelty on a mare on 21 September 2020 at Picton Local Court.

He was convicted, fined $3000 and ordered to enter a Community Corrections Order for a period of 12 months. He was ordered to rehome all animals in his custody and prohibited from purchasing, acquiring, taking possession or custody of any horse for a period of two years. In addition, he was ordered to pay veterinary expenses of $4416.33.

In an agreed fact document tendered on sentence, the Court heard that on Saturday 21 September 2019, RSPCA NSW Inspectors attended the Wilton property in response to a complaint about a horse with an ongoing injury. After attempts to find the owner of the property went unanswered, the RSPCA NSW Inspector saw a horse laying in the middle of the paddock. A vet was called to attend the property to assess the horse.

On Monday 23 September 2019, the horse was seized by RSPCA NSW Inspectors who found the mare with ribs, hip, and spine bones were now easily seen as well as a split from the bottom of the front left hoof which extended almost all the way up to the coronet band. The horse was caught and transported directly to Camden University Equine Hospital for further examination. The RSPCA NSW Inspector left a seizure notice after attempts to find the owner were unsuccessful despite evidence someone had been on the property recently.

The examining veterinarian found the mare to be in an overall poor body condition with a body score of 1.5 out of 5 and multiple superficial skin lacerations suggestive of bite wounds.  

There was a chronic luxation (dislocation) of the right fore pastern with secondary marked lameness. The lameness was only partially responsive to pain relief and had been present for a minimum of six months.

The mare also had a marked chronic hoof crack and breakage of the left fore hoof, with pedal osteitis and possible laminitis with marked lameness. This lameness was also only partially responsive to pain relief and had been present for at least six months.

The condition of the horse was deemed to cruel to be kept alive and was humanely euthanised on Tuesday 24 September 2019.

Inspectors received a response to the seizure notice on 2 October 2019 and an interview was conducted.  

The man confirmed he had owned the horse for approximately 12 months said he admitted that the mare had not seen a vet for the injuries present at the time of seizure and also confirmed that the mare had lost weight as it went through a stage of not eating and lying down a lot.

The mare in poor body condition

RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said, “Pet owners need to seek immediate veterinary care for their animals if they appear to be sick, injured, or unhealthy. Organisations like RSPCA NSW are here to help the community and their animals through hardship, there is no excuse for any animal to suffer from prolonged pain and discomfort.”

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