Day At The Track

What happened to the starving horses seized?

05:11 PM 02 Sep 2017 NZST
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One of the horses rescued
One of the horses rescued from a Northern Tasmanian property by the RSPCA, which is now recovering well.

Life has turned out well for 11 of the harness racing horses that were in an emaciated and weakened state when seized by the RSPCA from a northern property last year.

Former trainer Keith William Toulmin, 68, was sentenced to a two-month wholly suspended jail term and fined $5000 after being convicted of animal cruelty, aggravated cruelty and failing to comply with a notice.

The animals involved were all former harness racing horses, some of which were from New Zealand and had been worth $30,000-$40,000, the court heard. They belonged to different owners but had been left in the care of Toulmin and his son Craig, who had left the state.

RSPCA investigations officer Carrie Palmer visited the 40ha property at Birralee in April last year and found the 15 horses.

Over several months the RSPCA sought to force Toulmin to feed and medically treat the horses — eight of which he had been the registered trainer for.

However, he claimed he could not afford to do so and that his car had broken down. Toulmin euthanised three horses.

For nearly two months the remaining horses deteriorated in condition as winter set in.

In June teams from the RSPCA and Department of Primary Industries visited the property. They euthanised a horse called Kinda Taz, which was unable to rise.

The 11 remaining were seized by the RSPCA, which looked after them at a cost of $13,042 for the year or so since.

“Seven were rehomed and I often get updates from the new owners that they are doing well,” Ms Palmer said.

“Some have become trail-riding horses.”

The RSPCA retains ownership of four horses, Sybella Brioso, Never Enough, Clyde Maguire and Royal Affair.

“Three of them are at our facilities at the Cressy Research Station and they are rolling fat,” Ms Palmer said.

“The fourth, Sybella Brioso, is at facilities at Mornington and she is also doing well.”

By Nick Clark

Reprinted with permission of The Mercury

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