Police are investigating a councillor in Almeria accused of throwing a horse down a two-metre deep hole and leaving it there with the ditch covered by metal plates.
Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, the Town Planning councillor for Rioja, claims he thought 23-year-old Lucero was dead and has pledged to cooperate fully with the Guardia Civil in their investigation.
Agents from Seprona, the animal protection wing of the Guardia, will determine whether Gonzalez acted maliciously, or if the incident is, as he claims, a terrible misunderstanding.
On Sunday, police, firefighters and a vet received an anonymous call to investigate a hole on the councillor’s property. They found Lucero, still alive and healthy, but very dehydrated.
Using a crane the firefighters rescued the horse which was able to trot without difficulty. Sanchez claims he found the horse motionless a few days before and assumed he was dead.
He contacted a neighbour who dug the hole but admits that, after he pushed Lucero down, the horse began to kick and struggle. Sanchez claims that he desperately tried to call a vet but to no avail.
The councillor said he then threw a blanket over the horse and covered the hole as it was pouring with rain and went to seek help. He claims to have contacted the authorities himself. Determining who, if anyone, the councillor was in communication with will be crucial to the investigation.
Sanchez said he is horrified by social media reports suggesting he was trying to kill the horse and said he condemns animal cruelty in all its forms. Lucero is in good health and it seems odd, though not impossible, that he may have been temporarily paralysed.