In late 2006, the RSPCA was called out to investigate a report of a badly neglected pony in rural Victoria. Inspector Bode attended the scene where there was a female Shetland pony called Lucy with severely overgrown hooves. The RSPCA had dealt with complaints about this pony before, and her hooves were last clipped in 2004.
A vet was sent out who confirmed that she had a severe case of laminitis and he administered pain relief medication. The painful condition of overgrown hooves made walking a major difficulty for Lucy. Inspector Bode was not able to contact the owner so the decision was made to seize the pony.
Lucy was then taken to a clinic north of Melbourne where her deformed hooves were trimmed and treated. She was treated under general anaesthetic, and because her hooves were so hard, an angle grinder was used to cut them off.
Lucy’s owner had surrendered her to the RSPCA, so Lucy was then taken to the RSPCA Burwood Shelter where a farrier came to treat her painful feet. The farrier cut to size and taped styrofoam blocks to the bottom of her hooves to provide cushioning and support. A month after intensive work on her hooves, Lucy had her first walk in an open paddock at the Burwood shelter with a pony called Gus, who once suffered the same hoof condition.
The owner was found guilty of failing to provide treatment for a sick animal. He was ordered to pay costs of $1700 and make a $750 donation to the RSPCA.