RURAL crime investigators have issued a warning to horse owners to be vigilant when buying a horse, after reports of animals being drugged for sales.
Police say horses have been drugged before being sold through public, private or internet sales.
Oxley rural crime Detective Senior Constable Scott Kellahan told The Northern Daily Leader it was a statewide issue.
“We’re aware of these illegal practices,” Detective Kellahan said.
There have been a number of reports to police after people reported purchasing quiet horses for children or beginner riders on inspection, only to find the horse’s temperament had changed dramatically when they arrived.
In some cases the horse has been dangerous and unrideable.
Detective Senior Constable Kellahan said it was a dangerous activity.
“It could have the potential to kill a child, or to injure a child, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“And there could be severe consequences down the track.”
But there are criminal ramifications for those found to be behind the act.
Detective Senior Constable Kellahan said early reporting of cases was important.
“It is a criminal and fraudulent offence because you are selling a product claiming it’s something that it is not,” Detective Senior Constable Kellahan said.
“You’re also obtaining benefits by selling a horse claiming it’s something that it’s not.
“We have received anonymous information in the past and we’re very happy to receive more information that way.”
Police say there are a wide range of drugs which could subdue a horse’s behaviour.
While some are identifiable to experienced equine members, some drugs can have lethargic or drowsy effects that can last up to 14 days, depending on the doses administered.
Constable Kellahan said Oxley police urged anyone buying a horse to get it properly inspected.
“We would recommend to anyone buying a horse to have a vet check over the horse,” he said.
Rural crime investigators are appealing for anyone who might have information in relation to the issue or has experienced any suspicious activity when purchasing or inspecting a horse, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.