SPCA 'appalled' by Masterton woman's mistreatment of horses and sheep

The mistreatment was initially discovered in 2018.
The mistreatment was initially discovered in 2018. Photo credit: SPCA

Warning this article contains graphic images.

The SPCA says it is "appalled" by a Masterton woman's mistreatment of horses and sheep.

Lindsay Fraser was sentenced on Wednesday at the Masterton District Court for what the SPCA is calling "one of the most disturbing cases of animal neglect" its inspectors have ever seen.

The animal organisation said Fraser's animals were "left to starve and left with untreated open wounds among other serious injuries".

"Words can't describe the pain and suffering these animals must have gone through with a lack of food and no treatment sought for their severe injuries," said SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen.

The mistreatment was initially discovered in 2018, the SPCA said, with subsequent visits revealing more animals suffering, including "emaciated horses, horses with gaping open wounds and sheep with severe fly strike and parasites".

"It is inconceivable that any person could not notice that intervention was required for these animals," Midgen said.

The SPCA said that in the first instance of neglect an inspector found 43 sheep in faeces-covered paddocks with no grazing available. The SPCA subsequently took three sheep suffering particularly badly away from Fraser, with one of those dying despite receiving veterinary treatment.

The inspector later returned to the property and took away the remainder of the sheep.

Fraser said she had been relying on others to look after her sheep, but, according to the SPCA, she wouldn't say who that person was.

"The defendant had a history of taking on more animals than she could handle which created a pattern of malnourished and diseased animals despite SPCA intervention," Midgen said.

The SPCA took a number of sheep from the property.
The SPCA took a number of sheep from the property. Photo credit: SPCA

When the SPCA visited another property owned by Fraser in March 2018 inspectors discovered a "very thin" two-year-old stallion, called Max, in a paddock with no grass. A vet recommended the horse be given more food and be treated for parasites, however, in a follow-up inspection the stallion was found to be "emaciated, recumbent and tangled in horse cover".

"To end his suffering, Max was humanely euthanised," the SPCA said.

Two more horses owned by Fraser were also taken away from her and she was issued a notice directing her to give all her remaining horses specific care to make sure they were properly fed.

When inspectors found these instructions were not being followed a number of other horses were taken away from Fraser, with two of those eventually needing to be euthanised. 

Fraser was sentenced to 150 hours' community work and ordered to pay the SPCA reparations of $15,000 as well as make a $5000 contribution to the charity's legal fees.

She was also disqualified from owning stock animals, with the exception of two, for a period of 10 years.