CONCERNS: Chrystle Campeao with horse London who she claims was mistreated by a previous owner.
CONCERNS: Chrystle Campeao with horse London who she claims was mistreated by a previous owner. Stuart Quinn

Balnagowan woman calls for action after mare found starved

IF CHRYSTLE Campeao had been tipped off any later, she believes her beloved former horse, London, would be dead.

The 19-year-old mare had been living on a property at Marian and was about to be passed on to new owners, but upon seeing London's condition, they tracked down Ms Campeao.

London was suffering from a fungal disease that made her fur clump off and was skeletal.

"Lucky I managed to get this mare out of there because she would have died if she had been there any longer," she said. "That's something that would have had to happen over at least six months. I have no idea how many horses are on that property, but I am very frightened to find out."

Ms Campeao, who runs an equestrian centre at Balnagowan, said she sold London about two years ago to be retired as a loved family pet.

But those owners moved south and passed the horse on to the Marian owners.

She is now calling for authorities - state government, council or otherwise - to create a register that ensures no horse ever gets left behind.

"It is absolutely inexcusable to let a horse get to that state," Ms Campeao said. "I just think something needs to be done, for all the horses to be registered... I think people need a licence to own a horse just as they own a snake. It feels like the RSPCA seem to have their hands tied most of the time and can't do anything until the horse is literally dead.

"Something needs to change."

Councillor Fran Mann said suspected mistreatment or cruelty of a horse should be reported to the RSPCA, although the council has some enforcement power.

"If a complaint is received about a horse being kept on a property, council officers will investigate and may issue a compliance notice where appropriate," she said. "This can include requesting the animal be removed from the property.

"Penalties can apply if the conditions of the compliance notice are not met."

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said anyone with concerns should report an incident to them.

"If the condition of the horse has been reported to us, we would have it on record," he said. "If it's an area where we don't have an inspector, we would have to hand it over to the Department of Environment and Science."

The RSPCA has powers to charge people under the Animal Cruelty Act and take about 65 people to court each year.

Mr Beatty said in most cases they will ask for a prohibition order to stop a person from owning pets, however the longest order they have secured is five years. Once that expires, convicted offenders are free to have animals once more.