It was a call that would change human and animal lives forever

In December 2015, the RSPCA call centre received an update about a case of three horses left in a bad way on a property. Our inspectors had been tirelessly working with the owners in October and a welfare direction for action was issued for urgent veterinary treatment. Sadly, the owners vanished and Inspector Sharni was first on scene. What she saw was something she will never be able to un-see.

Malnourished, neglected and in pain, three horses needed urgent help. One worst of the horses was Hope the filly, who was immediately seized for urgent treatment. Her owners showed no remorse, packing up and leaving her for dead, despite being given direct orders for action months prior. 

One of the horses, Hugo, was on lease and had a bad infection left untreated. Luckily his original owner took Hugo back and got him the treatment he needed.

The remaining colt Oli was left in the care of the property owner at the time, in case the owners came back to care for him and pay their Agistment. They didn't, and despite efforts of the property owner to feed and care for Oli, the shoulder injury he sustained as a foal which was left untreated by his owners, had worsened. Once again RSPCA inspectors and vets had to step in, and sadly euthanasia was the only option left to ease Oli’s pain and suffering. All three horses could have been spared their discomfort and suffering, had their owners sought veterinary assistance earlier. Oli would also still be alive today.

It took seven months to track down Hope’s owners so they could be prosecuted and taken to court! “I'm extremely proud of this case and everyone involved who came to the aid of these horses,” Inspector Sharni. 

“It just shows that no matter where you run to, you can still be found and brought to justice for your crimes.” 

Hope’s two owners pled guilty to four charges of Animal Cruelty. A charge of failure to feed and charge of abandonment. They were fined nearly $7,000 in total which included veterinary costs, legal fees and they are prohibited from owning any animals for a period of three years, which also meant their two dogs were removed from their care.

“One thing as Inspectors we like to appreciate is that fact the judge recorded a conviction against the previous owners, which means it will forever be known that they committed an animal offence which can be quite rare to record these convictions.”

As exhausting as it is for everyone who has been involved in Hope’s case, the final outcome has been positive for Hope. She now has a much brighter future and after 283 days in care, she has finally been adopted into a loving home with other horse pals and livestock to keep her company too.

Hope’s road to recovery all started from a simple phone call from a concerned member of the public. If you see animal cruelty or neglect, contact our Inspectorate here or call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or 1300 852 188.

RSPCA Queensland is a charity run on 99% of community funding. If you can help our team continue to assist animals just like Hope so they can get a second chance, please donate here. You can also sign up to become a foster carer to help these pets as they recover and also, choose to adopt a pet.

A special thank you to everyone who has impacted on Hope’s recovery. From the concerned members of the public who reported the situation, the call centre staff helping to assist, the tireless efforts from RSPCA inspectors and the prosecutions team to track down the owners and take them to court, to the vets on scene, the staff and volunteers at the RSPCA, the loving foster carers that helped Hope get back to full health, and finally Hope’s new owners.

“Everyone knows how attached to Hope I was and would have taken her in a heartbeat if the timing was right. I gave her that name to bring all the Hope she deserved for a better chance in life,” Inspector Sharni.