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Big Red's tragic story leads to ban for owner

IN COURT: Investigations into Big Red's condition started in August 2014 after two people told the RSPCA Big Red was down and another horse had died in a similar condition on the Regency Downs property weeks before.
IN COURT: Investigations into Big Red's condition started in August 2014 after two people told the RSPCA Big Red was down and another horse had died in a similar condition on the Regency Downs property weeks before. File

BIG Red was emaciated, thrashing her legs erratically, starved and unable to stand up before the RSPCA directed the chestnut thoroughbred be put down.

Investigations into the horse's condition started in August 2014 after two people told the RSPCA Big Red was down and another horse had died in a similar condition on the Regency Downs property weeks before.

Her owner Luke Campbell, 51, was banned in Gatton Magistrates Court from owning livestock for three years after he was charged for failing to provide for the horse.

An RSPCA inspector found the horse at a Regency Downs property where she was lying in full sun in a paddock with two rugs over her and without access to water.

Campbell told the inspector he saw Big Red lying on the ground earlier that day but didn't know if she was sleeping or had died.

Neither of Campbell's two other horses had access to water and he later told inspectors he trucked water across every second or third day to two "puddles".

Campbell previously told inspectors there was no need for them to attend as the horse had died.

Campbell said feed aggression was an issue and sometimes prevented Big Red from from her fair share of barley hay each day but he otherwise fed three horses half a bail a day.

Vet Dr Louise Cosgrove found Big Red was very dehydrated and she was down due to starvation.

Big Red was euthanased by lethal injection.

In an interview with inspectors Campbell said three or four calves had also died because he "did not know how to care for them properly".

He said he believed his legal duty of care to animals included providing food, water, shade and keeping them in a reasonable condition so "there's no pain and suffering".

He admitted he "messed up that morning" and should have called a vet.

Campbell said it annoyed him that he lost a horse "and there was some learning that came from it and it was a good thing", although he "did not like the legal situation he found himself in".

Campbell was sentenced to three months imprisonment suspended for three years and ordered to pay $1739.80 costs.

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