Published on rnz.co.nz 11/02/2021
The SPCA is condemning a Wellington woman who tied her horse to a tree and starved him for up to four weeks.
Tania Harrison has been sentenced in the Hutt Valley District Court, charged with reckless ill-treatment of an animal.
She has been ordered to pay $287 in reparations and $450 in legal costs. She has also been banned from owning horses for 10 years.
On 23 March last year, an SPCA inspector visited her property and found a horse named Zorro tethered down a bank, emaciated, and struggling to stand with a wound in his hind leg.
According to the SPCA, Harrison admitted in court that she had tied up her horse up to four weeks earlier as he kept escaping.
It said she claimed he was in an OK condition at the time, and that she had given him water once, but no food because she had no money. She stated she was going through significant personal issues herself.
She also admitted she was unsure how he was wounded.
The inspector tried to lead Zorro up the bank for treatment but he kept falling backwards as he was so weak.
The day the inspector attended the property was the same day the government announced New Zealand was going into a national lockdown, so a vet was unable to attend later that day.
A vet assessed the horse remotely and decided the humane decision was to euthanise Zorro.
Chief executive Andrea Midgen says there’s no excuse for failing to provide basic necessities.
“Zorro would have suffered not only physically, but psychologically as well,” she said.
“It’s difficult to imagine the suffering Zorro would have experienced in the last weeks of his life, where he was isolated, starving, and in pain.”
She said horses are also herd animals, and being alone and tethered tightly on a steep rocky bank is “just a terrible situation for any animal”.