Mum devastated after lost pet ponies put up for sale
A WARWICK mother has been left gutted after her family's three ponies were sold off after they escaped from their fenced paddock.
Now she's fighting to get them back and calling for an extension on the length of time livestock can be held in pounds.
Leanne Watts noticed the ponies - two miniature and one shetland - had escaped from their paddock at Elbow Valley about two weeks ago.
She searched thoroughly and called her neighbours in an attempt to find the animals she had always dreamed of owning.
"I didn't know if someone had pinched them, we're not living there yet we're building," Miss Watts said.
But this week she was shocked to discover the ponies had been sold at the weekly Pig and Calf Sale, after she says they had outstayed their seven-day welcome at the pound.
She recognised their distinctive markings in a picture published in the Daily News.
While her three children know the ponies are missing, she hasn't been able to bring herself to tell them they've been sold.
Miss Watts said she bought the ponies for a bargain price of about $1000 just five months ago, but had also spent about $2000 on equipment for the animals.
But the loss was not just financial.
"It's a childhood dream for me, we didn't get everything we wanted when we were kids," Miss Watts said.
"We finally have something and then it's gone."
Miss Watts said the ponies were well looked after and her three children adored them.
Five months into their relationship they were just starting to get used to one another.
"We used to hand feed them and feed them apples and carrots, they were well looked after," she said.
"They had plenty of water."
Miss Watts said if sale results were publicly available in the newspaper, she'd like to see animals in the pound advertised as well.
She would also like to see the time they're kept in the pound extended to three or four weeks.
"Ponies and cows are worth so much more than dogs but they can accommodate for dogs so much longer for ponies or cows," Miss Watts said.
"It is a drought and they're going to wander."
Miss Watts, who is currently based in Warwick but recently bought a property at Elbow Valley where the ponies were staying, has a meeting with council soon to discuss the sale.
"I'm going to fight for them and find out who I talk to if I can't go through to the council then I'll be going higher," she said.
"I don't want to see it happen to anyone else."
The Southern Downs Regional Council website states that impounded or rescued animals that are not claimed after three working days may be re-homed or disposed of by the council.
The council advises pet owners to get in touch with the council as soon as an animal is lost.