By Sarah Chenhall
Allegations of animal cruelty involving 150 horses at Candelo are being investigated by the RSPCA.
The investigation follows complaints by Bega Valley Shire residents.
RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O’Shannessy said inspectors would make another visit to the site this week following RSPCA and independent veterinary inspections earlier this month.
He said the RSPCA had issued directions for immediate and short term care for the animals.
“We engaged an independent veterinarian, and had them examine and assess the horses and based on that we have issued directions to the owner in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” he said.
“The investigation is ongoing, as is our monitoring of the horses to ensure compliance, and we are in regular contact with the owner.”
An online and public campaign about the horses has generated much interest since it began three weeks ago.
A public protest held in Bega on Saturday was attended by about 50 people, and three Shetland ponies, who gathered at the Bega Courthouse and walked to the Bega Valley Shire Council chambers.
Organiser Lynette Murphy of Nimmitabel told Bega District News she hoped the action would “put pressure on the RSPCA”.
Pambula’s Lara Fanning, 20, created a Facebook page on February 7 which aims to “help rescue horses, raise awareness and offer help to the owner”.
The page has been viewed more than 600,000 times since it was created and has more than 3300 likes.
Miss Fanning has also written to Member for Bega Andrew Constance and supports an online petition directed to the RSPCA, Department of Primary Industries and Police.
Mr O’Shannessy said he understood the group’s concerns for the horse’s welfare.
“The public need to give us an opportunity to conduct our investigation and do what we need to do,” he said.
“It’s not something that can happen overnight but rest assured we are investigating and monitoring the situation.”