Followers might remember the high-profile case of a small black pony back in March 2021. Little Duque, as we named him, was the victim of shocking and long-term neglect. Confined to a tiny enclosure without any proper care, his hooves had grown like curving horns, his coat was matted and filthy and his teeth needed urgent attention.
ARCH prosecuted the owner for cruelty and abuse and last year the case finally came to court. The presiding judge appeared totally unsympathetic and, although the owner was banned from keeping animals, ARCH was not awarded any of the considerable costs incurred in rescuing and rehabilitating the abused pony (the charity has no government funding and has to pay for transport, veterinary costs and everyday feeding and maintenance from donations and fundraising). Undaunted, ARCH lawyer, Aritz Toribio, appealed and the verdict has now been overturned by the Provincial Court making the previous owner liable to pay ARCH’s costs. This is a landmark victory for those fighting for animal rights. Recouping even some of the expenses incurred enables ARCH to come to the rescue of other deserving cases. It sets a precedent which hopefully will work in favour of many other abused animals. As the animal rights lawyer says, “This approach reflects a positive change in the perception and legal treatment of animals as beings deserving of protection. The decision of the Provincial Court underlines the importance of the obligation to assume the costs associated with the rehabilitation of the mistreated animal.”
And Duque? Well, he found a loving home after his rehabilitation at ARCH. He now lives locally with another small pony friend and is treated with kindness and care.