Vet assistant kills four horses – number of unreported cases (still) uncertain




The district court of Saarbrücken sentenced a former veterinary assistant. She is said to have administered anesthetics to several horses for no reason, which led to the death of the animals.


The Saarbrücken district court dealt with an unusual case. A 31-year-old former veterinary assistant was accused of administering anesthetics to several horses without need . Two horses died from the active substance, two more had to be euthanized due to the consequences. The court sentenced the woman to one year in prison for violating the Animal Welfare Act This was suspended for three years and she had to pay a fine of €1800 to the Animal Welfare Association. The court follows the request of the public prosecutor. The defense requested acquittal..


Defendant denies allegations

The defendant had denied the allegations. In her closing remarks she emphasizes that she "definitely has nothing to do with it". The accused worked in a horse clinic in Überherrn, where she is said to have administered anesthetics to clinic horses and horses in a stable in Dudweiler without veterinary authorization and indication .


Four dead horses

The active substance was detected in the blood of four animals, two died immediately and two more had to be euthanized due to the consequences. Three other horses were inflicted with prolonged pain . The judge and chief prosecutor were convinced that the former veterinary assistant was responsible for other deaths. The fact that they were not charged is only due to the fact that no blood samples were available from those horses.


Affected vet researched

The head of the horse clinic at the time, whose own horse suffered acute cardiovascular failure and had to be put down, did her own  research and collected evidence . The vet found a total of 15 cases that she believed had the same causes. The European specialist in equine internal medicine had done extensive research to find the cause of death. Impurities in the hay or a virus disease could not be found. Instead, she discovered that the defendant had been in the immediate vicinity of the horses in all cases.

Chief Public Prosecutor Christoph Rebmann said that the "emotional bond" between the owners and the affected horses had to be taken into account in order to aggravate the punishment. Judge Thomas Haug also confirmed this: "Not only has great suffering been inflicted on the animals, but also on the keepers."

Motive still unclear

The motive of the accused remained open at the trial. A reviewer could find no evidence of a psychological disorder . The judgment is not final. Defense attorneys appealed while still in court.

Source - sr.de

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