• Sweden's news in English

Neglected horse had half-metre-long hooves

Oliver Gee · 23 Jan 2012, 17:01

Published: 23 Jan 2012 17:01 GMT+01:00

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“It's absolutely terrible. Just awful. The inspector who made the discovery was left in a state of shock,” Helena Ahlqvist, head veterinarian in Västernorrland County, told The Local.

“The case is unprecedented. No veterinarian has ever seen anything like it before. There's nothing like it described in any of the literature. It's a case of the most severe animal cruelty.”

According to Ahlqvist, the horse, named Charlie, was immediately put down following the discovery in late November 2011 on a farm near Sollefteå.

The veterinary reports state that Charlie was 27 years old, could no longer walk, and had not had his hooves tended to in years.

“When I stroked my hand over Charlie’s shoulders I could feel that he was only skin and bones,” wrote the veterinary head, Anders Paulsson, in his report.

“It can't be ruled out that he could no longer lie down and stand up.”

The report asserts that Charlie stood in his small stable all day, unable to move around at all, suffering from "severe physical and psychological pain".

As horses are pack animals, the fact that the horse stood alone in a cramped stall resulted in complete indifference to the veterinarian’s voice, an indicator of deep suffering, according to the report.

Story continues below…

Charlie was one of five horses referenced in the report and all five were found to have suffered from various levels of neglect and had to be be put down.

The owner has now been reported to police and may face charges of animal cruelty and violation of the animal welfare act according to the county administrative board.

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:47 January 23, 2012 by Svensksmith
That's animal abuse plain and simple.
18:32 January 23, 2012 by babashki
Don't full stops usually end AFTER the quotation marks?

IF you are using the American system to write, make up your mind;one line, its after the quotation the other before it.
19:32 January 23, 2012 by BillyB
The owner should be put down too.

And babashki, how much did you pay for this news service ??...thats right, nothing..give them a break , it doesnt really matter....
20:09 January 23, 2012 by gabeltoon
I'm horrified it makes one weep for the suffering the horse went through. The owner should be sent down for life , without his toe nails been cut.
20:29 January 23, 2012 by skogsbo
it does raise a few question, if there were on a farm I would expect länsstyrelsen to visiting every few years, certainly often enough to catch stuff like this at a much early stage.

Secondly, surely neighbours and relative must have known they were neglected for years and said nothing?

Finally, you have to consider this person may no longer be that well mentally, they could have actually been oblivious to the suffering. A loner with no friends or family after his wife or something died, then got depression and let everything fall around him. It's easy to condemn, but perhaps it's not just the animals which are unwell.
20:38 January 23, 2012 by StockholmSam
So this makes me wonder, what happens to the hooves of wild horses who have no humans to care for them?
20:42 January 23, 2012 by skogsbo
they wear down, they cover a lot of ground when no nice person brings them a bail of hay everyday, or puts them in nice soft fields of grass.
00:57 January 24, 2012 by biddi
Terrible story. Surely someone must've known something. Not the first time I've read about over-grown hooves. Charlie's complete indifference is heart-breaking.
04:19 January 24, 2012 by Gamla Hälsingebock
I repeat!

Don't block this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like to spend some time alone with that nice farmer!
07:40 January 24, 2012 by skogsbo
gamla, how do you not know that he hasn't been alone for too long, some folk are just cruel, but slowly developing neglect of farmer animals probably has a catalyst. he probably wasn't always like this. There could be a whole host of mental issue etc.. I guarantee a neighbouring farmer, relative or friend suspected or has been concerned something for years, but said nothing and did nothing(it's the Swedish way). That is far worse.
09:54 January 24, 2012 by biddi
Further, it should be law that the appropriate authorities inspect all

farms (small or large) periodically and unexpectedly. Not years in between check-ups/visits, but several times a year. I would bet there are more cases like this that have yet to be uncovered, everywhere. Totally unacceptable.
10:59 January 24, 2012 by Gubbe
@babashki: Actually, I believe when quoting a sentence, the full stop is included within the quotation marks, and when quoting a fragment at the end of a sentence, the full stop is placed outside of the quotation marks. This separates the writer's words and punctuation from those being quoted. Since the fragment itself was not the end of the original quote, it would be entirely inappropriate to indicate a full stop within the quotation marks.

Now, about CAPITALIZING words for emphasis... ;-)
12:00 January 24, 2012 by Keith #5083

go get a life, cut your nails...or something! If you can only concentrate on grammatical issues and not this appalling story,please go and read some other free,online newspaper.
12:10 January 24, 2012 by gabeltoon
Well done .My thoughts exactly. (KEITH #5083)
07:35 January 26, 2012 by dbonilla77
sheesh poor animal. People don't have any respect for living creatures.
08:26 January 26, 2012 by skogsbo
biddi, it is law and it does happen in Sweden, they inspect all farms randomly, but it doesn't happen every year, unless you want to pay alot more in local taxes to fund it? They call late in the working day before the visit though, to check that there will be someone even there, otherwise it's miles of driving for nothing. It doesn't need the state to stop this though, somebody would have known he wasn't looking after them.
08:14 January 27, 2012 by biddi
skogsbo : 'it doesn't happen every year' isn't really good enough, is it? Yes, we have to rely on tip-offs for the most part, I guess. But this could be a huge problem (for the animal/s) if the person is a 'loner'. Thanks.
10:41 January 27, 2012 by Da Goat
My question is how did the hooves grow so long? surely the horse should have starved to death way before then! Notice the nice straw on the floor and the horse still very much alive..... seems like the owner knows how to care for his/her horse except not how to trim hooves, let out for the summer or ask for advice on how to look after their animals, probably one of those well meaning people that have no clues! (or they were blind and could not see or dumb and could not ask for help)

Are they open sores one can see on the horses fetlocks ?

again more questions than answers here!

they put the horse down .... have they not heard of a saw? weirder and weirder!

"It can't be ruled out that he could no longer lie down and stand up." Horses normally only lie down if they are outside and it is about to rain or they are sick, or did they mean if it laid down it could not get up again?

are there really that many morons out there ....frightening!
16:32 January 27, 2012 by tadchem
babashki: When the full stop is part of a whole sentence being quoted, it goes inside with the rest of the sentence. When the quotation marks bracket a phrase rather than a complete sentence, the additional punctuation is not part of the quotation, and is placed outside.

Also, there are far more important issues here than English writing styles; five horses are DEAD due to this farmer's criminal neglect, and all you can do is whinge about misplaced dots. You are a truly insensitive boor.
14:50 January 28, 2012 by ironysoda
@Da Goat:

The hooves grow like nails do, they didn`t get worn down because the animal was locked inside the stall, and the owner didn`t trim them. When hooves get that long, it`s like human nails if they get too long, they cannot be cut off after a certain time because the nerve endings grow into the nail/hoof. It would be like cutting off your fingers and toes! So is it really moronic that trained veternarians actually know how to do their job?

Probably the horse was still receiving food and water if it was still alive, but it was locked in a confined space for years, that is permanently psychologically damagings to humans also. It would not have the psychological capacity to re-integrate to (horse) society, let alone the physical capabilities.

And if the horse hadn`t moved in years then it`s muscles that would be necessary to move would have atrophied, there is no therapy for that kind of severe damage.
09:08 January 29, 2012 by biddi
Enough to make you cry. I noticed the fresh? straw and the lesions on the right fetlock. This could be happening on other farms (everywhere) if the farmer is a loner or sick ...... or dies......
11:11 January 31, 2012 by Keith #5083
#irony soda

well said.

#Da Goat

Seems there's a moron in everyone just waiting to get out,huh?
00:37 February 1, 2012 by Coalbanks
There is always a creep like this. Unfortunately it sometimest incites so-called animal rights advocates to argue for an end to animal ownership/use.
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