RSPCA steps in to save starving horses
RSPCA inspectors have seized two starving stallions from the Toowoomba property of a former racehorse trainer.
Officers had been working with Ian Gleeson for about five weeks in relation to two gravely thin horses at his Darling St property on the city's western outskirt.
But they decided to step up their investigation on Thursday after receiving advice from a vet who had accompanied inspectors to the property.
It came after members of the public complained about the state of the animals.
Such was their concern that they had been regularly dropping hay over the fence to try to bolster the animals' strength.
Police officers from the Toowoomba Stock and Rural Crime Squad as well as Biosecurity Queensland staff were also aware of the investigation.
RSPCA senior inspector Jason Crowther said the horses would remain on the property for a short time until a vet declared them strong enough to be transported.
"The condition of both the animals is poor," Mr Crowther said.
He said the horses were now property of the RSPCA and, as such, inspectors would visit them daily to ensure they had everything they needed.
Mr Gleeson had previously trained horses which competed at Clifford Park Racecourse in 2012.
However, his trainer's licence with Racing Queensland had since expired.
He believed the larger of the two stallions had "a substance in his system".
"I have carried out the normal duties of care by supplementary feeding..." Mr Gleeson said.
He said he was aware people were concerned about the horses, having received calls from two women.
One of them told him she had dropped hay over the fence.
"What I found was the bale which had a very musty smell and was mouldy.
"I gathered the hay and placed it in a chaff bag and it is there for her collection."
He said other people had also visited his property with concerns about the horses.
"... there is nothing like natural grasses for nutrition for animals, but with this persistent drought and probably the coldest winter for a while, that has not been possible."
The RSPCA is working to determine whether or not Mr Gleeson will be charged with animal cruelty offences.