The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently investigating an animal cruelty case associated with three Thoroughbred mares purchased from the New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania on Monday with their identifying lip racing tattoos apparently burned off with acid.
According to the Lancaster Online, veterinarian Dr. James Holt stated someone used a caustic or acidic substance to obscure the tattoos. Otherwise the horses were stated to be in good body condition. The Pennsylvania SPCA is now working with the Jockey Club and employing DNA testing to determine the identities of the mares believed to be between 12 to 18 years old. Dr. Holt has seen this before:
“It’s possible the person was obscuring the ID simply because they didn’t want to have the horses identified. You can still identify them through DNA, but it takes weeks instead of minutes. Racehorse owners might try to get around track regulations that prohibit sending horses to slaughter because it is costly to keep or re-home them.”
Tragically, Dr. Holt has seen this before – even to the extent of the tattoo carved out with a knife for the same reason. These horses, however were lucky and didn’t fall through the cracks. Now it will be the time to determine why the owner did this – to avoid getting in trouble with the racetrack for selling the horses to auction where they might end up being transported to slaughter or for another reason? Spokeswoman for the organization and director of public relations, Gillian Kocher stated the horses are eating and drinking and are expected to make a full recovery. After that, they will be made available for adoption.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact the cruelty hotline at 866.601.7722.
(Photos of racing tattoos via Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center)