Man sentenced after horse discovered barely able to stand, unable to eat due to ulcerated gums

A man was sentenced yesterday to three months of community detention after his horse had to be euthanised because debilitating oral problems meant it was unable to eat.

Christopher Tuaupiki was found guilty at the Te Kuiti District Court on March 20 of one charge of reckless ill-treatment under the Animal Welfare Act.

He was ordered to pay reparations of $1,192.50 and $200 towards legal costs while also being disqualified from owning and exercising authority over horses for seven years.

The SPCA inspector, an animal control officer, and a veterinarian found the horse, a chestnut gelding, in emaciated body condition with all skeletal features visible in January 2017.

When the horse was approached, its head was hanging low and he was struggling to remain upright, unable to walk more than a few feet.

The vet found that the horse had missing teeth and oral pain due to sharp edges on the teeth ulcerating the gums which meant it was unable to eat properly over several months.

Due to the extent of his injuries and the extreme level of pain and distress he was suffering, the veterinarian recommended that the horse be euthanised on humane grounds.

The defendant declined to be formally interviewed but told the inspector he was going to call a pet food company to come and get the horse but he “didn't get time”. 

Horse neglected by Christopher Tuaupiki
Horse neglected by Christopher Tuaupiki Source: SPCA