“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.
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.