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Bloemfontein - Sixty eight horses found starving and allegedly belonging to the Lesotho government's military unit have been confiscated by the SPCA, the organisation said on Monday.
The horses, which were kept on a plot just outside Hobhouse, were confiscated after the Bloemfontein SPCA received complaints of them being starved.
"The Bloemfontein SPCA went to investigate and found six horses that were already dead. A further three horses were flat on the ground and very poor.
"These three horses breathed a lot and were in terrible pain and suffering. They couldn't get up at all and were terribly weak and starving. The horses were completely dehydrated. Euthanasia was promptly administered to them by the Bloemfontein SPCA inspectors.
The SPCA said, upon further inspection, the camp where the horses were kept was found to have no food or grass for the horses to eat, leaving the horses exasperated and starving.
"They just stood there and there was absolutely no emotion in them. The horses were so depressing. They just stayed in one place in the field and did not move at all. Their heads just hung and there was no emotion or feeling in the horses," the SPCA said.
After further investigation, the SPCA discovered that the 68 animals belonged to the Lesotho government's army. Furthermore, only one commander was found to have been tasked to take care of the animals.
The SPCA also discovered that:
- No treatment had been given to the animals who were ill or dying.
- There were no supplements or plan of action for the remaining animals.
- The whole farm's field is in an extremely poor condition and completely over-crowded.
- The general condition of the horses is extremely poor and emaciated.
"Some of the horses are completely blind in the eyes and struggle to see. Some of the horses also have cancer crops on them and are in extremely poor condition.
"Some of the horses' hooves are severely damaged and they really struggle to walk. Some of them also showed signs of lameness. Some of the horses also have skin conditions and the fur is in extremely poor condition. Many of the horses also showed mucus at their noses."
The confiscated horses are currently in the care of the Bloemfontein SPCA.
Reacting to the shocking discovery was Tebogo Maswanganye - Inspector of the Bloemfontein SPCA - who said: "I spent time with the horses and observe them. All the horses look so depressed. It's a cold feeling to be in their presence. Their soul is completely broken and they are very down. The horses show no emotion or any sign of energy.
"It is a shame that so many horses can die because of hunger while they are under the care of humans. It is absolutely cruel, on the contrary, it is absolutely shocking.
A complaint of animal cruelty has been laid against all parties involved.IOL