During late April 2024, the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit responded to a disturbing complaint concerning a saddler horse at a “reputable” stable in Pretoria.  Nothing could have prepared National Inspector van der Merwe for the suffering that the dear chestnut stallion, “Emarelda Dearborn”, faced.

The distressing complaint detailed severe neglect and injuries, leaving Emarelda Dearborn in a critical state and unable to stand.  The 14 to 15 year old chestnut stallion was found by National Inspector van der Merwe, severely emaciated, covered in bandages and plasters.  Without the assistance of the staff, he was unable to stand.

Our investigations revealed that the horse was in the care of an owner in the Northern Cape, with welfare concerns predating April 2024.  The NSPCA’s enquiries have brought to light complaints involving members of the Saddle Breeds Association of South Africa, raising serious concerns about their failure to report such cases, enabling offenders to escape accountability.

“The amount of suffering that this gentle giant faced is incomprehensible.  Why anyone would allow any animal to suffer in such a tragic state, in the name of sport and entertainment, is beyond cruel and signifies severe neglect” comments National Inspector van der Merwe.

The NSPCA stands firm in its commitment to seeking justice for Emarelda Dearborn and ensuring that all responsible parties are brought to account. The NSPCA’s investigation is finalised and a case of animal cruelty will be registered imminently.

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