Outrage erupts over 'appalling' Thangool horse death
THE death of a emaciated thoroughbred at Thangool has sparked outrage online.
The horse, which concerned neighbours had reported to authorities, appeared to be severely malnourished and was euthanised by its owner, decorated veteran and captain of the Thangool Auxiliary Fire Station, Don Baldwin, on Monday.
The RSPCA and Biosecurity officers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have launched an investigation into multiple complaints of animal cruelty.
The complaints arose over what neighbours called the "appalling and unacceptable condition" of five horses at the Leslie Rd property.
The case has drawn the widespread condemnation of animal activist groups on social media, with a Facebook post attracting more than 30000 reactions in 24 hours.
The case was brought to the RSPCA's attention early last week.
According to the RSCPA, inspectors were notified immediately and a decision was made to obtain a warrant with the intention to execute it with an accompanying equine veterinarian.
Having seen photos of the horses, arrangements were also made with stock contractors, as it was the RSPCA's view the horses would be seized.
The case was referred to Biosecurity Queensland, who were dispatched to the property with a government vet on Tuesday and Thursday last week.
The owner was served a legally-binding Animal Welfare Direction under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, but the animals were not seized after officers determined the "majority of other horses were all in good condition."
Four days later one of the horses was dead.
A furious neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said the case was not an isolated incident.
They said the owner had an extensive history of mistreating animals and the horse's death could have been prevented had authorities acted on previous complaints, dating back as far as 2003.
"I know for sure that at least six people have made formal complaints over the last 15 years," they said.
"It has never been dealt with properly. It's inexcusable.
"It's mind-boggling to think that this can be allowed to happen for so long."
Animal welfare activist, Judy Scrivener, said it was clear the horses required immediate care and should not have been left in that condition.
"I'm appalled with what's going on. This matter was not dealt with correctly," she said.
"The real concern here is with Biosecurity Queensland. The response in this case has been disturbing.
"Mere days after Biosecurity's 'experienced professionals' were there the horse has died.
"In NSW, the RSPCA will hook up a float and seize on the spot."
The RSPCA hit back in a statement, saying social media "lynch mobs" were detrimental to the cause, often weakening the chance of prosecution in animal cruelty cases.
RSPCA Queensland chief executive Mark Townend said the organisation doesn't have the "magic powers" to seize animals that some people assume.
"I have read lots of disparaging and inaccurate comments online so I thought the facts should be laid out, plain and simple," Mr Townend said.
"We have to comply with the law which dictates the process that must take place in relation to our intention to obtain a warrant. RSPCA doesn't issue the warrants.
"The owner decided to euthanize one of the five horses which is in accordance with the law and something neither DAF nor RSPCA can refuse, provided the euthanasia is humane.
"We have seen this happen previously when social media run a campaign and then the next thing owners exercise their legal right as the owner of animals and take away any opportunity for agencies to interfere.
"These campaigns ultimately do nothing to help enforcement, do nothing to help animals, and leave those organisations who do great work for animals without much needed funds and resources."