Dumped grass clippings

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A local animal charity warns it will get police involved if people continue dumping toxic lawn clippings in an Arrowtown horse paddock.

Horse rescue group Spirit of Equus head Vicki Bonham-Hoskin says four horses grazing in the Jopp Street paddock could get sick or even die from eating discarded garden waste continually dumped there.

The charity’s erected a sign asking people not to dump cut grass and volunteers patrol the area five times a day – but “they’re just getting sneakier”, Bonham-Hoskin says.

“Somebody actually dumped some in the middle of the paddock the other day, hoping we wouldn’t see it by the fence line.

“It’s got to the stage where they’re deliberately endangering the horses, so we’ll prosecute.”

Lawn grass can be toxic due to fertilisers and mould – certain varieties can be fatal.

It can also choke horses and cause colic, according to advice from Queens­town’s Pets ‘n’ Vets.

“We’ve had one horse die of colic – it’s a horrible, painful, revolting death,” Bonham-Hoskin says.

“I don’t think people in Queenstown realise how huge it is for a horse to get sick like that.”

Spirit of Equus, which also works with disabled riders and runs horsemanship programmes for children, keeps 16 horses on seven paddocks in the Wakatipu.