Two prized Katoomba showhorses were tagged and covered in blue paint on Boxing Day leaving owner Joanne Amey distressed and desperately seeking answers.
Ms Amey said it took a day to wash and tend to the eyes of her smallest, and “worst damaged pony”, Misty (pictured).
“This is how I found Misty on Boxing Day when I fed her at 5pm,” Ms Amey, from Katoomba, said. “I phoned PAL [the Police Assistance Line] from the paddock. I took them straight out of the paddock, I spent the next day washing and tending to her eyes. The other one was just tagged, she must have got away, but they obviously held her [Misty] to cover her head [in the paint]. She is a very trusting little soul, this event has broken my heart.”
Ms Amey, who regularly shows the prize-winning horses, said they were kept in a paddock in North Katoomba. Since the event she was informed by an onlooker that “two boys were in the paddock [and] I went straight there to find one climbing over our recently installed fence”.
“I gave them a dressing down about the dangers of being in there with a stallion, destroying the mesh on the fence and asked if they knew who sprayed the girls with paint. They denied any knowledge of the event.”
Ms Amey told the Gazette that despite a call last Monday to Katoomba Police, and the promise of a visit by officers, she’d had “no response, no phone call. I am at my wit’s end”.
“Given that six [miniature] ponies were slaughtered in their stables [in South Australia[ only a week before this incident with my ponies I thought the police may have contacted me,” she said.
When called by the Gazette, Inspector Peter Scheinflug said it was the worst incident of its kind in his five years of policing in the Mountains.
“It’s been recorded, it’s cruelty to animals,” he said. “The challenge we will have is whether we can get sufficient evidence to prosecute. The matter is being investigated.”
Inspector Scheinflug said a “computer hiccup” had delayed the police response and by Friday said, “Katoomba Police attended about 4pm yesterday and spoke to the owner of the horses. It appears that an eight and a nine-year-old boy were responsible. Due to the age of the children, no formal action was taken, however, they were spoken to in the presence of their parents and given a warning.”
Ms Amey has asked the community to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour. Luckily there was no lasting damage to either of her animals.