They said that when Cherry – that’s what his name apparently was – fell off the slope, the rope twisted arround his neck. In the several minutes that it took to kill the elegant 2-year-old stallion, nobody came to his aid. His teenage handlers did not untie the rope. Cherry the horse died in a ditch in one of the biggest parks of Chisinau.
The case shocked the Moldovan web community to the core, although the initial incident did not get much reaction from the media. Animal abuse is part of deeply-ingrained culture. Punishment for criminals is laughable and literally unenforcible. In vilagges deaths like that are normal and go largely unnoticed.
Cherry’s owner, a 18-year-old woman who was promptly identified by Facebook users, was named and shamed accross the Moldovan internet. She used Cherry, another horse and a donkey to earn money from kid’s rides around the Valea Morilor lake and photoshoots with the pretty horses in the park. According to the owner’s Facebook post, the services of her animals cost a bit over 10 Euros each. The animals that lived in that very park in the open air were taken care of – if care is the word that can even be used in this instance – by a group of teenagers.
The stallion’s death was reported as an accident due to absence of witnesses. When the body of the horse disappeared from the Chisinau park, the owner began to insist that she sold the horse to some individual living in the north of Moldova. She insisted to authorities that she had no way to get in touch with the buyer. That’s when animal rights protection activist Karl Luganov came in.
With the assistance of a local policeman, Luganov managed to locate the place where he assumed that the horse may be burried. His suspicions turned out to be true, as Cherry was found not too far off from where he died. The stallion was identified using the microchip. After the photograph was published on Facebook, numerous eyewitnesses came out. The horses, they
said, worked in terrible conditions, were underfed, publicly beaten and deprived of medical attention… Cherry had a dog bite on one of his legs, which remained virtually untreated as he worked away the hours in the Chisinau park.
The owner – who is 18 by the way, only 18 – risks a fine of 1500 Moldovan lei (a bit over 50 Euros). According to Facebook discussion in multiple animal protection groups, her horses reportedly brought her something close to 4000 lei per day. Moldovan law does not allow stricter punushment. It does not enforce bans on keeping animals or the confiscation of the animals that remain with the offender. The girl that insisted that she sold the horse is back at work in Valea Morilor park, but can you really expect some remorse or prudence from an individual that posts things like “I can’t be loved, I’m a beast” on her Facebook page?