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Duque (r) at his new home after being cared for and rehabilitated by the ARCH equestrian charity. SUR
Abused pony ruling by Malaga court sets 'precedent' in favour of animal charities
Animal welfare

Abused pony ruling by Malaga court sets 'precedent' in favour of animal charities

The Andalusian Rescue Centre for Horses in the Guadalhorce valley has been awarded the "considerable" costs incurred in rescuing and rehabilitating Duque, a neglected animal that was found in "an appalling condition"

Tony Bryant

Alhaurín el Grande

Friday, 9 February 2024, 18:10

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The Andalusian Rescue Centre for Horses (ARCH) has had a verdict overruled by the provincial courts in Malaga that will allow the Alhaurín el Grande-based charity to recuperate the "considerable" costs incurred in rescuing and rehabilitating an abused pony. The charity claims that the ruling "will set a precedent that will work in favour of other abused animals in the future".

In March 2021, ARCH was involved in the rescue of a small black pony that had been confiscated by the Guardia Civil. The pony was in "an appalling condition" and was suffering from total and long-term neglect. According to the charity's president, Jill Newman-Rogers, the animal's hooves had grown to such an extent it could hardly walk, and "his coat was filthy and matted, and his teeth were bad".

Once at the rescue centre, the pony, which the charity has named Duque, was assessed by a vet and given long overdue attention. He was X-rayed by a specialist team from a veterinary hospital, who advised the farrier how to remove the overgrown hooves safely.

However, as the president pointed out, the cost of transport, treatment, veterinary fees and food has, until now, never been awarded to an animal charity.

Battle against the judiciary

Along with animal rights lawyer Aritz Toribio, the charity had taken the case to court, but the "judge appeared totally unsympathetic" and refused to award the charity compensation.

"We are usually successful with the confiscation of the animal, and in ensuring that the culprit is prohibited from owning animals, but, until now, we have never succeeded in receiving compensation. Together with our animal rights lawyer, we have frequently had to battle against some members of the judiciary who appear not to care about animals or take into account the new legislation designed to protect them, which, incidentally, has been appallingly drafted. This is a landmark victory for those fighting for animal rights," Jill explained to SUR in English.

Undaunted, the lawyer appealed the decision last month and the verdict has been overturned, making the previous owner liable to pay ARCH's costs. Toribio said that recouping even some of the funds will enable ARCH to come to the rescue of other deserving cases in the future.

"This approach reflects a positive change in the perception and legal treatment of animals as being deserving of protection. The decision of the provincial court underlines the importance of the obligation to assume the costs associated with the rehabilitation of the mistreated animal," the lawyer declared.

"This ruling will make a lot of difference, because judges will now have to abide by this," the president added.

Duque has now made a full recovery following his rehabilitation and ARCH has recently found him a loving home.

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