Australian authorities found more than 40 dead and dying horses on one man's estate after neighbors reported animal abuse and a rotting smell.
On April 3, former Olympic wrestler and horse trainer Bruce Akers, 63, was charged with 92 counts of animal cruelty after 22 horses were found dead on his estate in Bulla, Victoria, about 22 miles from Melbourne’s central business district. He has since posted bail, reports The Age.
Another 20 horses were malnourished, according to Herald Sun and another had to be put down.
Carolyn Lofts, who found the horses, was sickened by what she found.
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“There was a horse alive still, but he was stuck upside down on the rocks,” she told the Herald Sun. “I looked over my shoulder ... and we saw another 10 horses, all dead.”
Lofts, who called authorities on Akers, keeps her own horses and found the scene to be “disgusting” and “absolutely appalling.”
Neighbor Julie Brown told the Herald Sun she thought up to 50 horses were continually locked away in a suffocating stable and said she witnessed four emaciated horses that seemed near to death.
Another neighbor, Robert Mitchell, said he discovered the scene while showing some environmentalists the creek on his property. One of his guests noticed a foul stench and “saw a leg waving in the bushes.”
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“She found seven dead horses in one section and five in another,” Mitchell said of the group member.
Akers represented Australia in 1972 and 1976 as a wrestler in the Olympics. He was also registered as a horse trainer whose last race was in 2011.
He could face up to two years imprisonment, a fine up to $57,000 and a ban on owning animals for a decade.
Most of the surviving horses were taken to an RSPCA center and authorities have asked the public to donate funds to help treat and care for them, reports Daily Mail.
The animals were reportedly part of a failed business venture in which Akers tried to start a riding school.