AN IPSWICH couple faced court yesterday for starving and neglecting five horses and a foal and leaving them to perish in the January flood.
Gary Brennan, 58, and Linda Barbara Brennan, 56, have each pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty at their One Mile home.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard the horses were emaciated, malnourished, dehydrated, distressed and riddled with parasites, and there were maggots in their skin infections.
Two of the horses were in such a bad condition they had to be euthanised.
The court heard the abuse was discovered when residents of One Mile were evacuated from rising floodwaters on January 11 and neighbours came to help the Brennans and their animals.
The court was told that when a neighbour asked Mrs Brennan what to do with the horses, she said: "Let the floods take them".
The court also heard when Gary Brennan was asked why he had not sought vet treatment for the sick animals he said: "Most of the vets I know I wouldn't p*** on."
The concerned neighbour managed to free the horses and guide them to higher ground, the court heard.
Because One Mile remained cut off due to floodwater, no vets were available to help the sick animals, so the neighbour called police.
The police contacted the RSPCA and the animals were seized and taken to the Ipswich Showgrounds for treatment.
The vet who examined the horses told the court the animal's spines and ribs were protruded and gave them a body condition rating of two out of a possible nine.
He said this meant the horses were "extremely undernourished and in very poor condition".
The vet said the horses would have been starving for three to six months.
One witness told the court the horses "looked like cows" because "there were no muscles - only bones".
Mrs Brennan said one week before the January 11 crisis the horses "stopped eating" and started "sulking and starving themselves because they knew the floods were coming."
The pair said the horses had gone from being healthy and plump to skin and bone in "six to 10 days".
Mrs Brennan told the court that the maggots had been "planted by the RSPCA" and that the animal welfare group and Ipswich City Council have both crafted a "conspiracy" campaign against them.
The RSPCA said the surviving horses have made a full recovery and have been adopted out to new homes.
The trial was heard by Magistrate Donna MacCallum, who will deliver her verdict on October 20.