RSPCA investigates pony in nightclub
RSPCA is investigating after a pony appeared at a Melbourne nightclub surrounding by intoxicated revellers.
The Herald Sun has received images of partygoers posing with the Tori the pony inside La Di Da nightclub on Saturday night, with 'pony is back b**ch' written on its backside.
Images have also captured the animal standing by itself in a dark alleyway with its head lowered to the ground.
The pony, loaned to the nightclub for an opening event, was initially meant to stand outside the venue to greet clubgoers but was brought inside due to poor weather.
Ponies for Parties, which supplied the pony, has defended allegations of animal abuse.
Company owner Gail Traynor claims the nightclub provided a large staging area for the pony which was flanked by security.
"At no time was the pony at risk or in distress," she said.
"The nightclub owners turned their speakers off to reduce the noise and put more lights on for us so the pony had more light."
She confirmed reports the pony tripped while walking down stairs inside the venue.
The pony's nightclub appearance has sparked outrage on social media, some labelling it as "disgusting" and vowing to boycott the La Di Da nightclub.
"(It's) probably a pony's worst nightmare to be stuck in a club full of drunk people to harass it all night then be chucked outside in the rain on concrete," one person wrote on social media.
"I'll never be going to La Di Da again."
A La Di Da club spokesman said the animal was never at risk of injury.
"The pony was never intended to enter the venue. It got moved into a non public access area with no speakers for ten minutes as a storm hit outside ... until they retrieved the pony trailer from around the corner.
RSPCA Victoria Team Leader Sharna Fitt said several welfare reports have been received by community members.
Inspectors are working to determine whether there have been any breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
"RSPCA Victoria is opposed to the use of animals for any kind of entertainment, exhibition or performance where injury, pain, suffering or distress is likely to be caused," Ms Fitt said. "Animals used in performances must be treated with respect and not objectified or subjected to indignity or ridicule.
"It is the responsibility of those in charge of the animals to be aware of their responsibilities and legal obligations to ensure the welfare of the animals in their care at all times, and to act accordingly."
The company has also been caught loaning out ponies which are being used as chalk boards for young children.
An image posted to the company's Instagram page shows a young girl standing next to two ponies, each covered in rainbow chalk scribbles.
It was captioned, "Chalk the pony! So much fun."