The owner of three horses found “severely underweight”, with worm damage and ragwort poisoning, has been given a 10-year ban and suspended prison sentence.

Gordon Perkis, 62, of Low Common Road, Norwich, was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year, and forbidden from keeping horses for 10 years.

He was also ordered to pay £2,080 costs in the sentencing at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Monday (27 June).

In January, three emaciated mares — with body condition scores between 0 and 0.5 —were discovered at a location in Diss, Norfolk, by RSPCA and Redwings officers.

Cookie before

Cookie before

The horses were seized on welfare grounds and taken to a nearby Redwings centre, where they were given immediate veterinary treatment.

Despite intensive care, one of the horses — a piebald cob named Fanny — had to be put down due to severe worm damage to her digestive system.

“Although she had received some treatment for worms it was not appropriately prescribed or administered,” said Redwings vet Nicola Berryman.

“A lack of pasture rotation also contributed to the problem.

“Sadly we have seen several cases recently of young horses succumbing to redworm infestation due to inadequate parasite control and we would always recommend getting a vet’s advice on your horse’s worm prevention regime.”

Baby before

Baby before

The other horses, a 20-year-old black cob named Baby and a four-year-old skewbald called Cookie, are making progress.

“The road ahead in their recovery is rocky as the damage caused by their neglect has already taken hold,” added Ms Berryman.

“Both are displaying signs of liver damage as a result of ragwort poisoning, but our team is doing all they can to keep them happy and healthy for as long as we can.

“We want all horse owners to be aware of the severe and lasting damage that ragwort toxicity can cause.”

Baby now

Baby now

The prosecution was brought by the RSPCA and Perkis had admitted charges under the Animal Welfare Act at a hearing on 31 May.


Related articles:


RSPCA inspector Nicola Thorne said the case “serves as a reminder” that horse owners have a duty of care and “absolutely must” seek professional advice and veterinary treatment when their animals are unwell.

Following the sentencing, Redwings’ senior field officer Julie Harding said she was “pleased justice for these three poor mares has been served”.

“Their owner’s punishment does not bring Fanny back, but she did not die in vain and I hope other owners take note of the severity of this situation and the importance of their responsibility to their horses.”