Gallop Stable, which manages between 120 and 150 horses across three stables in Singapore, was fined $9,000 yesterday for cruelty towards one of its animals.
The company was found guilty last month, after an eight-day trial, of failing to provide adequate veterinary attention to a 17-year-old chestnut thoroughbred mare at its Pasir Ris Green ranch on or before May 15, 2013. This caused unnecessary suffering to the mare, named Sharpy.
The horse-riding provider, represented by its director Mani Shanker, is appealing against the conviction and sentence.
A veterinarian from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) found Sharpy in poor condition when she paid an unscheduled visit to the Pasir Ris ranch on May 15 that year.
Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox
Sharpy was lying down, and its right hind leg was about three times the size of a normal leg.
The horse was also bobbing its head in a bid to get rid of the flies in its eyes.
The vet advised the stable to seek immediate veterinary attention for the horse.
The next day, another vet taught stable staff how to wash Sharpy's wounds twice a day.
Two days later, Sharpy's condition seemed to have worsened when the AVA vet, Dr Wendy Toh, visited the horse again.
Sharpy was lying on the ground and there were maggots in its wounds.
When offered water and food, the horse drank non-stop for two minutes and ate continuously for up to half an hour.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong Hefeng asked for the maximum fine of $10,000 to be imposed.
He said there was a need for greater deterrence of such offences and for wrongdoers to be more severely punished.
While penalties under the Animals and Birds Act were last increased in 2012, the number of animal welfare and cruelty cases investigated and feedback received have increased steadily over the past year.
Among the aggravating factors Mr Choong cited in this case were the magnitude and long duration of Sharpy's suffering.
Gallop's lawyer, Mr Simon Tan, said his client was adamant about saving Sharpy, despite veterinary advice for the horse to be put down.
He added that Gallop spent close to $16,000 on the treatment and care of Sharpy, which is now healthy and still owned by the stable.