For weeks we battled to save a group of horses imprisoned in a filthy, dark shack. It was, without a doubt, one of the worst cases of mistreatment of horses we have witnessed.
Seven horses were locked in permanent darkness in conditions so cramped that most could not turn around and some could not even lift their heads as the ceiling was so low.
They were kept like this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, never seeing the light of day. They appeared to be fed only on straw and were severely malnourished and suffering from skin conditions. These horses were physically and psychologically tortured.
We fought to get the local town hall to use its powers under the Valencian animal mistreatment laws to immediately seize these horses and remove them from their abusive owner. Town hall officials would not do so. Instead, they chose to take a softer approach, using environmental laws to order that the horses be taken out of the shack.
The owner was given 15 days notice to move the horses and told that they would only be seized if not moved during this time. Of course, the owner moved the horses rather than have them seized.
They were out of the shack, but still in the care of the person who had so badly mistreated them. He was allowed to take them to an unknown location where his continued treatment of the animals could not be monitored. Given the appalling abuse he inflicted on these horses, it is highly unlikely that he is now caring for them properly.
Under the Valencian animal mistreatment laws, the horses could have been forcibly seized and the owner prosecuted, fined and banned from keeping animals. We could not believe that even with a case as serious as this, the authorities would not take these strong measures.