Warning: This story contains graphic images

An Auckland woman has been sentenced after she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her horse's significant eye injury.

Emma Boase pleaded guilty in the North Shore District Court to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

She was sentenced to 260 hours community work, disqualified from owning horses for five years and ordered to pay reparations of $1468.41 to the SPCA.


The case began in March 2016, when an SPCA Inspector arrived at a paddock in Helensville after responding to a call from a member of the public concerned with the welfare of a horse.

The horse was showing obvious signs of pain and distress. It was clear that the horse had undergone eye removal surgery and the sutures were still present.

The horse's head was grossly enlarged and misshapen around the site of the eye removal area. A bloody discharge was leaking from the horse's nasal system and he was having difficulty breathing.

A veterinarian's assessment found the horse to be in unreasonable pain and distress, and believed he would have been so for months.

The veterinarian found the growth from the injury site had been causing painful bone destruction and the horse was in marked distress from the inability to move a normal amount of air through his nostrils.

The horse's head was grossly enlarged and a bloody discharge was leaking from its nasal system. Photo / SPCA
The horse's head was grossly enlarged and a bloody discharge was leaking from its nasal system. Photo / SPCA

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

Boase stated that the horse's eye was surgically removed in October, 2014, because of an eye tumour.

The vet had recommended that Boase remove sutures two weeks after the surgery, however, the suture removal and recommended post-operative care was not undertaken.


SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen said the horse's owner failed in her duty to attend the horse and check its wellbeing.

"This poor horse suffered severe pain for months on end because his owner failed to follow the vet's advice and provide the required post-operative treatment for him," she said.

"As the vet stated, the horse's facial swelling, eating and breathing difficulty were obvious even from a distance and should have been tended to immediately.

"Our animals are completely dependent on their owners for food, shelter, companionship, and treatment if they get injured or fall ill.

"If you own an animal, it is your responsibility to provide these fundamental things."