The owner of a filly found with “horrific” injuries from a chain collar which had dug into her flesh as she grew has been banned from keeping animals for three years.

The RSPCA was called to a field in Totton, Hampshire, in May, after concerns were raised about the dun pony, who had broken free from the tether attached to her collar.

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Owner Barrie James, of Mansergh Walk, Totton, said he had been unable to catch the filly after she broke loose, and was “genuinely remorseful” when he realised the seriousness of the situation.

The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to failing to check the chain collar and tether, which had caused severe injuries under her chin and behind her ears.

“This poor filly had outgrown the collar around her neck, and as a result it had dug deeper and deeper into her flesh causing this awful wound,” said RSPCA inspector Penny Baker.

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“The head collar had probably fitted when first placed around her, but as she grew it was far too small – about nine centimetres shorter than the width of her neck. It must have been so painful.

“The type of tethering used was extremely inappropriate and dangerous, especially as the collar was not changed once the young horse had outgrown it, but the defendant seems now genuinely remorseful as this case has made him realise how bad the wound was.

“Thank goodness we were called when we were, as any longer and the wound may have been difficult to treat.”

James was also ordered to complete 180 hours’ unpaid work and pay £300 costs.

“Sadly situations like this concerning fly-grazed and tethered horses are still far more frequent than we would like,” Ms Baker said.

“The RSPCA does not agree with horses being tethered but as it is not against the law we can’t stop people doing it. But as this case shows it is extremely difficult to provide for tethered animals’ needs and very easy for them to be tethered inappropriately causing potential pain and suffering.

“We urge horse owners to be very careful when tethering their animals and ensure that only appropriate tethers are used.”


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The filly, now named Pandora, was taken to World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm.

Centre manager Claire Phillips said: “Pandora was in a terrible condition when she arrived with horrific injuries. Thankfully, she has made a fantastic recovery and has not let any of her previous trauma affect her nature.

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“She is a kind, willing pony with a very bright future and we hope to see her make a lovely ridden pony in the right home.”

Anyone interested in rehoming Pandora should click here.