David Ronald Gafa, 65, is on trial for animal cruelty.
David Ronald Gafa, 65, is on trial for animal cruelty. contributed

Foal 'going ballistic' in animal cruelty case

HORSE trainer David Ronald Gafa told investigators the foal he had secured by a rope was going "ballistic" as he tried to get it loaded onto a float.

Mr Gafa, who is also a licensed real estate agent, is on trial in Maroochydore District Court for serious animal cruelty over the way a two-and-a-half-month-old foal named Bonny was treated at veterinarian Stuart Bryce's Valdora property on November 18, 2016.

Mr Gafa had enlisted the help of strapper Glen Corrie and former vet nurse Jordan Duffy to collect the foal and its mother to bring back to his nearby property.

Mr Bryce was not with them.

Bonny's body was found in a dam on Mr Gafa's property two days later and then recovered from the water the following day, the court heard.

Mr Gafa's interview recorded with a Racing Queensland Integrity Commission investigator the day after the foal was recovered was played to the court yesterday.

He said he had a hold of the horse with a rope around its neck during his attempts on November 18 to get it ready to be put on a float.

"Every now and then I would give it a bit of a jerk to stand up," Mr Gafa said.

"Every time anything got a bit tight I loosened it and let it go."

He said the horse eventually calmed and was huffing and puffing because it had done a bit of work.

But he said he gave up when the mare busted off the float before he could get Bonny on.

When asked if he was happy with his actions using the lasso he said he was.

Mr Corrie said during his evidence yesterday that Mr Gafa had suggested a lasso be used on the foal after failing to catch it with his hands.

He said a hessian rope with a running bowline knot tied in it was put over the neck of the foal.

Mr Corrie said after more unsuccessful attempts to control the horse it was given an injection containing sedative.

He said that caused it to rear back and hit its head on a shelter.

"I noticed at that stage the horse had some blood on its nose from hitting its head on the post," Mr Corrie said.

"David made the decision that the horse had gone through too much and we would shut down for the day."

Veterinary pathologist Dr Helen Owen said she conducted a post-mortem examination on the foal a week after its body was retrieved from the dam.

Dr Owen found multiple fractures to its upper and lower jaws.

She said one of those fractures could have been a result of the horse rearing back.

"The other fractures are likely the result of blunt trauma to those areas," Dr Owen said.

She agreed that could have happened if the horse was thrashing about on the ground.

She said the injuries could have killed the horse but also agreed that drowning could not be ruled out as a cause of death.

The trial continues today before Judge Glen Cash.

Editor's note: It is not alleged that Mr Gafa drowned or bashed the foal as previously reported and the paper would like to correct the record in that regard.