Horses not fed enough during driest CQ summer
A YOUNG woman failed to give her two horses sufficient feed during one of the region's driest summers seen in at least 16 years.
Nikita Kurtz, 20, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on August 27 to two counts of breaching her duty of care by failing to provide appropriate amounts of food and one of contravening direction of an animal welfare direction.
The offending took place between December 1, 2018, and March 13, 2018.
Rocky Feed and Seed co-owner Todd Lynch, who told The Morning Bulletin last week that he and his brother John's business was the busiest it's ever been since the started 16 years ago, on Wednesday said the 2018/19 summer was the driest they've seen Central Queensland since being in business.
RSPCA prosecutor Jordan Ahlstrand said Kurtz was the owner of two thoroughbred horses - a chestnut mare named Destiny and a grey gelding named Tex - who were kept in a paddock in Allenstown during the 2018/19 summer.
He said the RSPCA received a call from someone concerned about the condition of the two horses on December 13, 2018 and the inspector attended the property, finding Tex under weight with ribs showing.
Mr Ahlstrand said Destiny was also showing signs of health declining and had cracked hooves.
He said the inspector noted there was water available for the horses.
Mr Ahlstrand said the inspector attended the property again on December 21 where Kurtz's partner showed the inspector the horses' food supply.
He said Kurtz admitted Destiny was in bad condition and said she was "difficult to maintain".
Mr Ahlstrand said the defendant admitted that due to lack of feeding, Destiny's weight was dropping off.
He said Kurtz told the inspector she fed Destiny a "biscuit of grassy hay in the morning and a bucket of chaff in the afternoon", walked the horses across the road to feed and that the mare had been wormed three months prior.
Kurtz was ordered by the inspector issued an oral animal welfare direction issued to worm both horses, contact a veterinarian to get advise for a feed plan and to have hooves trimmed by a farrier.
That oral direction was not complied with and on January 4 a written animal welfare direction was issued for the same requirements.
The inspector attended the property on January 21 and found no one home, so contacted the defendant the next day and was advised a equine dentist would be attending on February 1.
The inspector drove past the property after January 25 and found no improvement in the horses' conditions.
The equine dentist advised the horses' teeth were 'not that bad' and it was his opinion a lack of feed caused the weight loss.
On March 31, Kurtz provided RSPCA with receipts for worming and feed but the inspector could not see an improvement in the horses' conditions and informed Kurtz they would be seized.
Mr Ahlstrand said when Destiny was seized, she was significantly underweight, ribs were exposed, a superficial wound on the right side chest, a fresh laceration above an eye and swelling, along minor injuries.
He said Tex was "mildly under condition"; had two lacerations to one of his thighs; a small black mass on left side of the jaw; chronic scar tissue in the right corner; reduced vision; indication of previous damage to the left foreleg; scar tissue on left pocket joint, chest and abdomen.
Kurtz surrendered ownership of Destiny to the RSPCA on March 31, and Tex to her mother.
Kurtz was ordered by the court to pay RSPCA costs of $1791.23, summons cost of $99.50, RSPCA's legal fees of $1000 and put on a 12-month Good Behaviour Bond with recognisance of $1000 and prohibited from owning a horse for two years.