RSPCA PROBES HORSE DEATHS

By SHAN GOODWIN

THE RSPCA is investigating allegations of animal cruelty after two horses died and others had to be rescued from the flooded Lismore racecourse area.

One stockhorse drowned, one had to be put down and three others were rescued by SES volunteers on June 30, the day the floods peaked in the city. The horses had been kept in yards next to the Lismore racecourse.

In a separate incident, the SES and others also launched a rescue to save a racehorse locked overnight in stables at the racecourse.

The horse was able to make its way to higher ground after gates were unlocked.

RSPCA regional inspector for the Far North Coast, Alistair Hills, said the investigation would encompass the situation surrounding the stockhorses and the racecourse's flood evacuation process.

Complaints were made last week to the RSPCA about the possible neglect of the horses.

Mr Hills said investigations of this kind could take months to complete.

However, he hoped to have 90 per cent of the work completed by the end of next week.

"As you can imagine, a case like this with so much publicity shuts everyone's mouths," he said.

Lismore strapper Tanya Glue was one of the group concerned about the handling of the horses and supported the main complainant.

Ms Glue and her husband evacuated five of their own horses from the racecourse stables at 7.30pm on June 29, the night before the rescues.

"Four other horses were also evacuated from the stables," she said.

"Even if the water doesn't go over the stables, roads are blocked and you can't get into the stables.

"We figured it was better being safe than sorry."

Ms Glue believes the hefty fines imposed on people found guilty of neglecting animals were warranted.

Chairman of the Lismore Turf Club, Ron Marriott, declined to comment.

The owner of the racehorse could not be contacted yesterday.

The owner of the stockhorses has not be disclosed by the RSPCA.



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