In court for Cody

One year ago to the day I sobbed for joy and relief in a bleak windowless courtroom in northern Melbourne.

A heart wrenching, time consuming, and expensive battle that had been waged for nearly two years was over, and we had won the right to continue to care for Cody.

Cody is a beautiful black quarter horse gelding. Timid and gentle, most of his life he has lived on a remote property in New South Wales, and since the death of his mother many years ago, without the company of another horse. He did however have the company of a herd of cattle, many of them ageing.

By a sequence of events that do not need to be retold here, Cody came into our care. What was to be a three month temporary placement lengthened to nearly a year. At the end of this time we received the only contact from his alleged owner stating he was to be collected and trucked, together with the cattle, in the care of another, to Darwin.

As part of the ensuing events we discovered Cody was still legally owned by the brother of his original breeder. When contacted they readily agreed to the legal transfer of his ownership to us.

We thought that would be the end of the issue, but unfortunately we were dealing with a person who did not have the interest of the animals at the fore and was determined to drag everyone involved through the legal system, regardless of what was best for the animals concerned.

Unless we were prepared to relinquish ownership of Cody, and abandon him to be sent by truck to Darwin, we had no choice but to fight this case.

There was an image that spurred me on. Losing this case, or capitulating, would mean I would have to stand by and watch Cody loaded onto a cattle truck, calling to Ginger, our chestnut mare rescue of 10 years. Cody has bonded strongly to Ginger, is never far from her side, and always looks to her for reassurance and comfort.

The very thought of the distress their separation would cause each of them, and Cody especially, was unthinkable.

The case was set to be heard over five days. Fortunately by day 2 it had been decided in favour of all three defendants.

The relief was dizzying.

So Cody is living out his days with us. He is happy as long as Ginger is nearby. He loves to gallop in with the herd, relishes his hay, and enjoys a warm rug in winter.

There are many fights worth fighting in this world…and Cody was definitely one of them.

As a postscript, the defendants have had to bear the cost of this vexatious litigation.