A man who left a horse with a broken leg for a week, treating it with penicillin instead of calling a vet, has been banned from keeping equines for life.
Kevin Wilson, of St Paul’s Parade, Barnsley, was also given a suspended prison sentence at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on 7 December.
Wilson, who turns 56 on Sunday, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act, in relation to 10 horses he kept on an allotment.
The RSPCA was called to the Ballfield Lane site in May by the police.
“One of the horses, a piebald cob stallion, was down when we got there,” said RSPCA inspector Paula Clemence.
“His breathing was laboured and he was tethered in such a way that he couldn’t reach water. He also had overgrown hooves.
“It turned out he had suffered a broken leg almost a week earlier and rather than seek veterinary attention for the horse’s clear lameness, Wilson had been treating him with penicillin.
“Very sadly, he had to be put to sleep.”
Two more horses had overgrown feet, said Ms Clemence, and all of them were living “in faeces in an enclosure full of hazards” with inadequate grazing, water and shelter.
“When the horses were walked to a transporter across an area containing lush green grass they were desperate to get to it and ate ravenously,” added a spokesman for the charity.
Four of the 10 horses were signed over to the RSPCA on the day and have since been rehomed, but Wilson refused to sign over the other five. These have been in RSPCA care since, including a pregnant mare who has delivered a foal.
As part of the sentencing, the horses have been confiscated and it is hoped new homes can now be sought for them.
“In mitigation, the court heard Wilson had started out with a couple of horses but they bred and he ended up with more than he expected and that he accepted that he could not afford to look after 10 horses properly,” said the RSPCA spokesman.
Ms Clemence added: “Owning horses is a luxury, not a right, and if you take on responsibility for a horse you must ensure you have the means to do so.
“You must be able to provide food, water, somewhere appropriate for them to live, be able to get the farrier, or a vet if they become injured or ill.
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“Unfortunately, not only did Wilson’s horses not have their needs met, but some of them suffered and one had to be put to sleep.”
Wilson was sentenced to 12 weeks’ prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay £600 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Equine charities welcome proposed tougher punishments for animal cruelty: see next week’s Horse & Hound, out 21 December.