Council defends decision to sell family's pet ponies
A MOTHER was devastated when her three lost ponies were put up for sale, but the council says details on their auction were publicly available for days.
An SDRC spokeswoman defended the council's decision, saying procedure was followed.
"It is unusual for an animal to be impounded for a period of 14 days and an owner to not come forward," she said.
Leanne Watts noticed the ponies - two miniature and one Shetland - had escaped from their paddock at Elbow Valley about two weeks ago.
While she lives at Warwick and is building a property at Elbow Valley, she said she searched thoroughly and called her neighbours in an attempt to find the animals.
But last week she discovered they were sold at the Pig and Calf Sale.
Miss Watts said she tried to speak to a council officer about the animals, but the worker forgot to check up on them.
A Southern Downs Regional Council spokeswoman said the officer who handled the inquiry was not available for comment on the day the Daily News asked about the claim, but said details on the ponies' sale was readily available.
The council only took the step to sell impounded animals if the owner could not be found, she said.
"The ponies were held at council's Warwick pound yard for 14 days," the spokeswoman said.
"Their notice of offer of sale by public auction was listed on council's Warwick Administration Centre screens seven days prior to the sale.
"Animals to be offered for sale by public auction must be advertised at council's offices, with the details of the sale note at least two days prior to the date of the sale."
The spokeswoman said Local Law No. 2 requires the pound to hold animals that don't have an identified owner for at least five days.
To prevent livestock being sold, the spokeswoman said owners should ensure the animals were contained and had sufficient feed and water.
"If the owners do not reside at their properties, they should make arrangements to have the well-being of their animals regularly checked," she said.
Miss Watts said it was a childhood dream to own horses and since she'd purchased the ponies five months ago they'd been well looked after.
"We used to hand feed them and feed them apples and carrots. They had plenty of water," she said.
Miss Watts vowed to fight to get the animals back and is calling for the length of time animals are impounded for to be raised to three to four weeks.