By John Ensor •
Published: 08 Feb 2024 • 19:20
Duque, on the right with his new friend.
Credit: Jean Joss/ARCH
The Andalusian Rescue Centre for Horses (ARCH) has recently celebrated a significant legal victory, shining a beacon of hope for animal welfare advocates.
In March 2021, ARCH took part in the rescue of an elderly black pony following extensive media coverage. The animal was confiscated by the Guardia Civil and entrusted to ARCH’s care.
Suffering from severe neglect and confined to a cramped space, the pony’s condition was dire with extremely overgrown hooves, a dirty and matted coat and poor dental health. He hadn’t even been given a name. Thanks to the efforts of his rescuers he was taken in and named Duque (Duke).
The fight for justice was challenging. Initially, the court’s decision was disheartening. ARCH reported that ‘some members of the judiciary. . . appear not to care about animals or take into account the new legislation designed to protect them.’
Despite the owner being prohibited from owning animals, ARCH was not compensated for the substantial rescue and rehabilitation expenses.
However, ARCH’s legal representative, Aritz Toribio, pursued an appeal. The Provincial Court’s recent ruling in favour of ARCH required the former owner to cover the costs, marking a pivotal success in animal rights advocacy.
This outcome not only helps ARCH financially but sets a significant legal precedent. ‘This approach reflects a positive change in the perception and legal treatment of animals as beings deserving of protection.
‘The decision of the Provincial Court underlines the importance of the obligation to assume the costs associated with the rehabilitation of the mistreated animal,’ Aritz Toribio stated.
Duque’s story does have a happy ending. According to ARCH: ‘Once at the Rescue Centre he was assessed by a vet and given long overdue attention, bathed and groomed.
‘He was then X-rayed by a specialist team from a veterinary hospital who advised the farrier how to remove the overgrown hooves safely.’
After his recovery at ARCH, he found a new home where he is loved and cared for where he spends his days alongside a fellow pony companion.
This tale of resilience and justice serves as a powerful reminder of the difference that dedication and legal advocacy can make in the lives of animals.
This landmark case is a testament to the tireless efforts of those fighting for animal welfare and the evolving legal recognition of animals as deserving beings of protection.
It paves the way for future cases, ensuring that the costs of mistreatment are borne by those responsible, and provides a financial lifeline for charities like ARCH to continue their life-saving work.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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