Next time, you think of taking a joy ride atop a horse at Marina beach, you would do well to check if the animal is healthy.

Recently, a veterinarian, along with an animal welfare inspector from Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), checked the health condition of horses used for joy rides along the Marina. A few of the animals were found wanting.

SPCA authorities said a total of about 50 horses were found on the beach. Of them, 21 horses were checked by the veterinarian. SPCA authorities said on seeing their ambulance, many horse owners stayed away from the beach.

While one of the horses had a cataract in its left eye, another animal had injuries on its hind leg and a third was injured in the toe.

Other than the three horses, the remaining 18 were found healthy, said the SPCA authorities.

As per the norms of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), horse owners using their animals for joy rides on beaches or at marriages have to check the health condition of the animals and obtain a certificate from a veterinarian.

The same has to be submitted to the Board. The owners have to check the health of the animals every month and submit the certificate to AWBI. This had been made mandatory, said an official.

In May 2002, three horses on the Marina died as they were kept without proper feed and water, in extreme heat conditions.

Following this, volunteers of People for Animals screened the animals on the beach, and it was reported in The Hindu.

Following the publication of the report, the government swung into action and the next day, veterinary department officials recovered all the horses on the Marina.

After providing treatment to the seized equines, they returned them to the owners. The owners were warned and advised to maintain the animals well.

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