SPCA received calls about horse before it died

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014

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The horse killed on a Christchurch road this week was previously spotted galloping on Lincoln Rd and being raced outside the hospital.

Christchurch residents contacted The Press yesterday with stories about Richard Hayden and his horses.

Hayden has been living in Christchurch for at least a year with his two horses, Beautifoal and Archiboy. It is understood one was killed after being hit by a car on Monday night.

One woman said she saw two horses being raced along Hagley Park last month, opposite the hospital, and believed they were Hayden's horses. She said a girl on the second horse fell off when it reared. A St John spokesman confirmed that on March 17 a girl in her early teens was taken to hospital with moderate injuries after falling from a horse on Riccarton Ave.

Business owners on Lincoln Rd said they had seen Hayden and his two horses in the area at the time.

SPCA Canterbury chief executive Barry Helem said staff had been out several times with police after calls from the public about the horses, but the animals were always in good condition.

As the SPCA works in line with the Animal Welfare Act, and Hayden was meeting all its requirements, any action was outside the SPCA's authority.

"It's a real tricky one," Helem said, because several agencies were responsible. "If the horses are loose it's animal control; if they are creating a hazard, then it's police."

A horse was put down by police after being hit by a car on Monday night, on the Brougham St off ramp near the intersection of Collins St.

The driver said he did not see the horse before hitting it.

A witness, who did not want to be named, said the horse was "loose and terrified" and the driver "had no chance and [was] lucky to be alive".

A police spokesman said a man was seen with two horses earlier in the evening in Addington.

It appeared one of the horses had bolted onto the southern motorway and was hit by the car.

He said police were considering whether charges could be laid against the horse's owner.

Christchurch City Council inspections and enforcement unit manager Anne Columbus said its animal control staff had received complaints about the horses.

"It is unusual to see a man with two horses walking around the city streets - and residents have raised this with our animal control team a number of times. A horse owner is not breaking any law by walking his horses around the streets in a tethered/controlled situation."

If a horse was uncontrolled, council could impound the animal.

Hayden could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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