Gallop Stable fined $9,000 for mistreating horse, to file appeal

Sharpy, a chestnut thoroughbred mare, is alive and well today. (Photo: AVA)

The ranch operator that was found guilty of mistreating a horse was fined $9, 000 on Friday (19 May).

Gallop Stable Singapore was convicted on one charge of animal cruelty on 28 April after an eight-day trial. The horse in question is a 17-year-old chestnut thoroughbred mare named Sharpy who has recovered and is doing well, according to the defence.

However, it was not always so. In 2013, Sharpy, was found emaciated with a festering wound and swelling in its hind legs and an eye infection. The infected skin on its right hind leg had been rotting and flies were feeding on the wound.

An Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) veterinarian had testified during the trial that she saw the sick horse at Gallop’s Pasir Ris branch on 15 May 2013. Dr Wendy Toh said that Sharpy was lying down, breathing heavily and baring its teeth, a sign that it was in pain.

Another veterinarian, Dr Phyllis Yew, who paid a visit the day after, said that Sharpy had a fever, conjunctivitis and swollen eyelids. It had pus-filled sores covering most of its lower right hind leg.

During the trial, two of Gallop’s employees, operations manager Thanabalan Rengasamy and stable coordinator Maneesha Shanker, said that the horse was just resting.

In court today, Gallop’s lawyer Simon Tan asked for a $5,000 fine. Tan said in mitigation that Gallop Stable could have followed the veterinarians’ advice to have Sharpy put down, but did not.

“Our clients were very insistent and adamant on saving Sharpy as they genuinely believed that with proper care and treatment, Sharpy could be saved,” said Tan, adding that Gallop Stable had spent close to $16,000 on the horse’s treatment after 15 May 2013.

Today, Sharpy is “walking and eating well” and is currently being used by the stable, according to Tan. The defence also submitted videos of Sharpy galloping in the stable.

The prosecution, however, disagreed. It asked for the maximum $10,000 fine, arguing that it would not be “correct in principle” to avoid it simply because the horse’s condition had improved and had its medical expenses paid for.

The prosecution cited other aggravating factors, including the magnitude of Sharpy’s suffering and the duration it suffered and Gallop Stable’s status as a commercial operator with eight years of experience at the time of the offence. Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong added that Sharpy’s suffering was uncovered after an unscheduled AVA check.

Tan will be filing an appeal against Gallop’s conviction and sentence.