UK-One of three horses belonging to Margaret McKay, 41, suffered grave neglect at her hands, so states Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Carle. Eighteen-year-old Poppy was forced to endure extreme pain and never received any help or the slightest relief. She had fallen into a bad state of neglect.
According to McKay, she became emotionally attached to Poppy and was reluctant to seek any help. Yet, after being confronted by a social worker’s report that she showed no remorse about Poppy and her condition, she accused authorities of handling her case poorly.
Animal inspectors received a complaint about a severely lame horse and went for a welfare check at McKay’s house in Birness [near Ellon].
Carle sent in a veterinarian who noted that Poppy had a “severe broken hoof pastern axis on her two front legs” making it virtually impossible for her to stand on all four legs. She was dreadfully emaciated and her bones were clearly outlined through her hide.
The vet assessed this to be the result of severe, chronic neglect and degeneration of the ligaments in the pastern and hoof to the point that the foot could not function normally at all. The right fore foot was virtually the same. This was clearly extremely painful for Poppy and she had to push all her weight onto her back legs to try to relieve some of her discomfort.
Sadly, the vet concluded that Poppy's hooves were in such poor condition they could not be corrected to allow her to live a normal, comfortable life. Therefore the only humane option was for the vet to put her to sleep.
At her court hearing, McKay was told by Sheriff Malcolm Garden: “I find your attitude very disturbing.” By the same token Garden would not keep her from keeping animals "because there had been no previous concerns.” Instead, Garden assigned her only 180 hours of community service and warned her, “You are on the radar of the animal protection authorities. If you allow other animals to get in this state then they will be down upon you."
Carle said after the hearing that instead of care, the horse was neglected. The SPCA is disappointed that McKay was not banned from keeping other animals even though there was a neglect conviction.
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