5 Horses Dead in Gold Coast Hinterland

Discussion in 'News Items' started by Redsticks, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. oldtenth

    oldtenth Well-known Member

  2. feather feet

    feather feet Well-known Member

    AUTOPSY results from 21 dead horses in the Gold Coast Hinterland have revealed tick poisoning is to blame for the deaths.

    The Toowoomba-owned horses died after they were sent for agistment to Kooralbyn last week.

    Post-mortem examinations by Biosecurity Queensland ruled out deliberate poisoning or food-borne disease botulism as the cause.

    Owner Debbie Lee said only four of the 25 horses were still alive.

    "The surviving four have been given an anti-tick serum. Now we just have to wait and see," she said.

    "But it's not hendra, it's not botulism and it's not deliberate poisoning."

    The revelation has been bitter-sweet for Ms Lee and partner Steve Hogno, who have lost almost half of their racing stock.

    "It means the remaining 30-odd horses we have in Toowoomba and Oakey have a clean bill of health," Ms Lee said.

    "When I got the report, I told my daughter that it restored my faith in mankind to realise that no one out there is low enough to do such a horrible act."

    Toowoomba and Oakey are classified as tick-free zones, with hefty fines for taking tick-infested stock into the region.

    "It means that if you take horses down near the coast, it pays to be mindful," Ms Lee said.

    "They have no resistance to ticks because they've never encountered them before."

    Bouncing back will be hard, but the owners of Birdhouse Racing Stud have vowed to do just that.

    "It's as good news as it can be," Ms Lee said.

    "It's a huge knock to us, but we'll never give up."
  3. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    so 21 horses died from Tick bites ?:(

  4. PetaBizz

    PetaBizz Well-known Member

    WOW.. tough thing to swallow :(
  5. feather feet

    feather feet Well-known Member

    hmm not so sure now...getting conflicting stories..that statement above is from the council..and the council NEVER release statements about stuff like this,even when EI was rife,BIO,DPI has always been the one to release correct info on these types of matters..its all sounding very suss..something is going on,for 23 horses to drop dead in 10 days from ticks is unheard of,some horses ticks dont effect at all...this was released by BIO AFTER that statement....

    Biosecurity Queensland
    Kooralbyn horses update: 13 October 2011

    The number of horse deaths at Kooralbyn is 23. The horses remain under the care of a private veterinarian. Biosecurity Queensland is continuing its investigations to determine the possible cause of these deaths. Test results are expected within the next few days.

    This posted by the council....

    AUTOPSY results from the recent dead horses issue at Kooralbyn have revealed tick poisoning is to blame for the deaths.

    Post-mortem examinations by Biosecurity Queensland ruled out deliberate poisoning or food-borne disease botulism as the cause.

    Toowoomba and Oakey are classified as tick-free zones, with hefty fines for taking tick-infested stock into the region.

    Horses from that region have no resistance to ticks because they may never have encountered them before.

    someone smell a rat? you see..Toowoomba and oakey are tick free..but CATTLE tick free..paralysis ticks are EVERYWHERE..so to say these horses had no immunity or exposure to ticks before because of where they came from is a lie
  6. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    its all starting to sound alittle bit odd :confused:

    So when you start seeing the "Men in Black" around in QLD, you might get a better idea of whats going on hey ? *#)

  7. Ponies4Me

    Ponies4Me Well-known Member

    Statement released by the Scenic Rim council has been retracted! Anyones guess as to what is going on atm. Find it highly suss myself that ticks would drop all of these horses in the way that it has.
  8. feather feet

    feather feet Well-known Member

    yeh i just read the same...stupid council should just keep out of it and let the dpi and bio QLD handle it..ticks dont cause horses to convulse FFS
  9. feather feet

    feather feet Well-known Member

    and the plot thickens.....

    When a stranger rang Debbie Lee and her partner, Steve Hogno, to ask if they'd like to race their beloved quarter horses at a country club resort, the pair thought their dreams were finally coming true.

    "We said, 'Oh boy, we sure would!'" Lee recalls. "The guy who rang said he even knew of a property near the resort where we could keep our horses, and Steve and I couldn't wait to check it out."

    The caller was Ian Howard, part of a consortium planning to restore the long-closed Kooralbyn Valley Resort near Beaudesert in south-east Queensland and set up regular quarter horse sprint races. Late last month, after meeting Howard and inspecting the proposed agistment block - "It seemed like the perfect spot" - Lee and Hogno moved 25 horses from land they rented in Toowoomba to the Kooralbyn Valley property.

    But less than a fortnight after the healthy young horses were released to roam their picturesque new 81-hectare home - with three dams and a running stream - they began dying at an unprecedented rate. By Wednesday, six days after the first mysterious deaths on the unoccupied property were reported to the RSPCA by passers-by, all but four of the quarter horses, uninsured, were dead. And despite exhaustive testing by Biosecurity Queensland, the mass deaths continue to defy scientific explanation.

    The most likely cause is thought to be paralysis ticks (up to 50 were found on each dead or stricken animal), especially rampant after last summer's flooding, combined with the fact the prized horses came from a tick-free area and had no immunity to tick toxin.

    "No one told us about this danger," a devastated Lee said this week. "Steve and I loved these horses; we'd never have taken them there if we'd known about the killer ticks - it would have been like sticking a child who'd never been exposed to colds and flu in with a bunch of sick people."

    But horse trainer Hogno is far from convinced ticks are the real culprits. Employed as a mining supervisor in a remote part of Western Australia, Hogno flew back to Brisbane last week to inspect the dead and dying horses.

    With tick poisoning, the paralysis always works forward from the hindquarters and tail," the veteran horseman said. "But in all of these cases the paralysis started from the head. Also, no one has ever heard of a case where so many animals have died so suddenly. Tick deaths occur over quite a prolonged period, yet many of these horses were dead within an hour or two of going down."

    Hogno suspects that "elements" opposed to sprint racing within the broader horse racing industry may have been connected with the mystery deaths. Opposition to sprint racing, run over short courses, arose from a perceived threat to thoroughbred racing. It led to a rule change in 1993 that effectively banned races over less than 800 metres from Australian race tracks.

    Since then, Hogno and other enthusiasts have been trying to find ways around the ban, focusing recently on privately funded, or proprietary, racing at independently owned venues. (Ian Howard told The Sun-Herald he and others involved in the Kooralbyn Valley Resort project hoped to stage regular sprint races there if a licence could be obtained through the Queensland government.)

    "It was no secret that the large number of horses arriving at the Kooralbyn paddock were destined for sprint racing," notes Hogno. "The [Kooralbyn Valley Resort consortium] have circulated their intention of establishing sprint horse racing on a very large scale, with offshore wagering and so on ? [and] we know from past experience that there is an element vigorously opposed to sprint racing ever being allowed to get re-established in Australia."

    Hogno's suspicions deepened after being told via an anonymous phone call that people had been seen feeding his horses "late at night" over a fence at the Kooralbyn property, which borders a public road. A spokesman for Biosecurity Queensland said that while still unable to rule any potential cause for the deaths "in or out", he was unaware of anything indicating introduced poisons.

    The property where the horses died and are now buried is owned by Ian Barry, who was travelling when the tragedy began unfolding. The job of fronting the media and burying the horses fell to his brother, David, who moved the surviving animals to his own property, administered serums against ticks and botulism, and stayed up around the clock to tend his charges. Last weekend, after returning from his travels and making a short inspection of the block where the horses died, Ian Barry found three paralysis ticks on his own body.

    "He pulled one out from behind his ear," David Barry said at the property. "Next morning he woke paralysed down one side, and had to spend three days in hospital. The side of his head was blown up like Quasimodo's."

    David Barry says he hadn't realised the horses were like pets to Hogno and Lee until inspecting the dead and dying animals with the couple last weekend. "Deb was crying and identifying them by name ? she'd hand fed some of them from an early age. After that, I went into overdrive to try to save the remaining four."

    But, despite showing signs of improvement earlier this week, one of the survivors died on Thursday. Another, which had been "running and playing" on Thursday morning, collapsed that afternoon.

    Hogno got the latest grim news at his desert outpost. "This is a week after [the last four horses] were sprayed, and all ticks were removed, and after having tick anti-serum," he emailed soon afterwards. "Adds to the theory of some [deliberately] introduced virus or disease. Very strange."

    Like Hogno, Ian Howard - who unwittingly set the scene for the tragedy - says he and the vets he has consulted cannot accept that ticks "could knock over that many horses that quickly".

    Yet he also struggles with the notion of foul play: "I just can't believe that anybody could be that bloody-minded. But if it was [a deliberate act], and the culprits get caught, I wouldn't like to be in their shoes."
  10. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Gee :( sounds suss, and I am not usually one for a conspiracy theory ...
  11. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Any more news about this? Any cause of death confirmed yet?

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