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Published on Stuff 24/01/2018


Warning: This article contains content which some readers may find distressing.

An Auckland woman has been disqualified from owning horses for five years after failing to seek treatment for her ailing horse, leading to its death.

Emma Boase pleaded guilty to three charges against the Animal Welfare Act (1999) including reckless ill-treatment of animals in North Shore District Court on Monday.

Auckland woman Emma Boase has been sentenced to community service and ordered to pay $1468 in reparations after failing to seek vet treatment for her sick horse.

In March 2016, an SPCA inspector was sent to a paddock in Helensville to investigate reports from a concerned member of the public about the welfare of a horse.

The inspector saw two male horses on the property: one was showing “obvious signs” of pain and distress, a statement released by the SPCA on Wednesday said.

The horse had undergone eye removal surgery and the sutures were still present.

The horse had its eye removed earlier due to a tumour, but the sutures were never removed and post-operative care had been ignored, the SPCA found.
The horse’s head was “grossly enlarged and misshapen” around the site of the eye removal area.

Bloody discharge was leaking from the horses’ nostrils and he was having difficulty breathing, the inspector found.

The inspector requested an immediate consult by an equine veterinarian who found the horse was in “unreasonable pain and distress” and likely had been for months.

The growth from the injury site had been causing painful bone destruction and the horse was unable to move normal amounts of air through his nostrils adding to its distress, the statement said.

Due to the extent of his injuries and pain and distress he was suffering, the veterinarian recommended the horse be euthanised on humane grounds.

Information later given by Boase confirmed the vet’s assessment that the injury was months old, the statement said.

Boase stated that the horse’s eye was surgically removed on October 14, 2014, because of an eye tumour.

The vet recommended she remove the sutures two weeks after the surgery – however, the suture removal and recommended post-operative care was not undertaken and the horse was effectively abandoned from that point on, the statement said.

“This poor horse suffered severe pain for months on end because his owner failed to follow the vet’s advice and provide the required post-operative treatment for him,” SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said.

“As the vet stated, the horse’s facial swelling, eating and breathing difficulty were obvious even from a distance and should have been tended to immediately.”

Midgen said Boase had failed in her duty as a horse owner, which was “completely unacceptable”.

“Our animals are completely dependent on their owners for food, shelter, companionship, and treatment if they get injured or fall ill. If you own an animal, it is your responsibility to provide these fundamental things,” she said in the statement.

Boase was sentenced to 260 hours’ community work, was disqualified from owning horses for five years and was ordered to pay reparations of $1468.41 to the SPCA.