Tick spray yard nightmare

ANGELA Georgopolous, with son Christos, and her mother Susan Bugdon have called for changes at the Kirra tick spray yard following the horrible death of their horse Shar.
ANGELA Georgopolous, with son Christos, and her mother Susan Bugdon have called for changes at the Kirra tick spray yard following the horrible death of their horse Shar. Tweed Daily News

THE tears welled in Angela Georgopoulos' eyes yesterday as she recounted the horrible death of her beloved Arabian horse Shar at the Kirra tick spray yard.

It was 7.30pm on May 3 and Shar was the last horse to go through the tick gates.

He was stressed about being put in the “crush” and he began to struggle and lost his footing once inside.

The seven-year-old endurance runner kicked out and his foot became stuck in the cage.

He fought to break free, but the strong animal, worth about $30,000, virtually ripped the limb from his own body.

After eight frantic phone calls, a vet from Beenleigh was finally found and arrived at Ducat Street to put the distressed animal out of his misery, almost an hour-and-a-half later.

The incident devastated Mrs Georgopoulos and her mother Susan Bugdon and has angered the Tweed horse industry, with another breeder of 30 years condemning the treatment facility as an “obsolete nightmare”.

Breeder Karen Hodges said the facility was poorly managed and called for it to be shut. She has heard plenty of horror stories and almost broke her pelvis there about a year ago.

“It is like a slaughterhouse, it is terrible,” Ms Hodges said.

“I have heard they are going to make it safer, but I am sorry, this is one death too late.

“This should not be a traumatic experience for both horse and owner. It was like something out of a bloody nightmare.

“We are literally being prohibited from showing horses in Queensland because of the haphazard treatment of horses at the Kirra yard.”

Mrs Georgopoulos and her mother have outlined a number of concerns they have with the facility and say there must be a safer way.

When the horse was injured, it was up to them to find a vet, there were none on call at the facility.

They also say the mats on the floor of the slippery crush were ripped, deteriorated and not covering the floor properly.

“You don't expect to see a horse lying there with its leg hanging off for an hour and a half,” she said.

“It was the most horrible thing I had ever seen.”

A New South Wales Department of Primary Industries spokesperson disputed claims the facility was dangerous and said up to 500 horses were sprayed per month and incidents were rare.

She claimed Shar was known as being temperamental and became “extremely violent” on the day of its death.

“Two staff were present at the time, including the Queensland border supervisor, however, all attempts to settle the horse were unsuccessful. A vet was called to the scene and due to the extent of its injuries, decided the horse needed to be euthanized.”

“Horses that are put through the spray facility are required to be able to be lead, however, unfortunately in this case, the horse had a major physical reaction to being in the spray facility, and there was little DPI staff could do to prevent this from happening.”

“The incident was extremely unfortunate for everyone involved, including the DPI staff involved, one of whom was injured while trying to restrain the horse.”

Marine Rescue leads to life of memories at sea

BON VOYAGE: Bernie Gabriel reflects on his time in the Marine Rescue NSW Service.

Bernie Gabriel looks back on early days.

Long road ahead to ease pain of stabbing death

Imogen Larter with horse Nelson.

Victim's family tells of heartache, healing

Local Partners