Horses rescued from Cambridge owners
Three emaciated horses and a foal have been rescued from their Cambridge owner.
Two big geldings and a mare and her foal were surrendered to New Lives Animal Rescue after the organisation saw photos of the horses on Facebook.
Neighbouring horse owner Karen Dysart posted the photos, and Donna Young - New Lives Animal Rescue founder - managed to track down the owners.
The rescue charity said since photos of the horses were posted online, the former owner of the animals had received threats. The organisation was reluctant to name the owner, fearing it would prompt more serious threats.
Originally only one horse was to be surrendered, but when the rescue charity got there the mare was choking after the owner hastily fed her.
With a large bale of hay, a big bucket of feed and a small stomach, she couldn't swallow.
"She was on the ground with stuff coming out of her nose and mouth so we called the vet immediately, to have her sedated to get the blockage out," said Michele Haultain, who volunteers for the rescue charity.
"If we hadn't got there when we did, she would have died overnight."
All three of the horses have terrible rain scald from wearing non-waterproof covers, they are all significantly underweight and have had their growth stunted due to malnutrition.
Horse dentist Annmarie Hughes volunteered her time to see to the horses, and found that the mare - at only six years old - was unable to chew anything as her teeth never formed properly.
Hughes was able to correct this but the mare will need major ongoing treatment.
Offers of homes have been flooding in for the horses, but Hautain said it will be some time before the horses can be rehomed.
"People have already donated and we're really grateful for that, but we're probably going to have these horses for months and they're going to cost us thousands of dollars in feed," she said.
Young said the owners explained that SPCA had been called about the situation, and had left a notice telling them to feed their horses.
Waikato SPCA committee chair Victoria Whitfield said the SPCA took the appropriate steps in this situation and a good result was achieved.
"It was a beneficial outcome in respect of educating and working with the owner to improve the condition of the horses," said Whitfield.
She said staff visited the property the afternoon the complaint was received and found the horses in a very poor condition. The owner wasn't there so a letter was left saying to contact the SPCA urgently.
She said the owner got in touch with the SPCA the next day and the inspector advised the owner the horses had to be immediately treated by a vet.
"The owner agreed to obtain vet treatment of the horses and supplementary feed, and was starting to make arrangements to move the horses to another property. This addressed the immediacy of the situation."
Whitfield said the inspector intended to monitor the situation, but before this could happen New Lives Animal Rescue took over and compromised any further investigation by the SPCA. However New Lives Animal Rescue feared if it did not act immediately, the horses would die.
It is unclear whether there will be any consequences for the owner, who declined to comment when contacted.