A man has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after admitting having caused his mare to suffer unnecessarily and failing to meet her welfare needs.

William O’Reilly, 62, from Stopsley, Bedfordshire was also sentenced to 8 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay costs of £1,000 by Luton Magistrates’ Court last month.

O'Reilly Bluey1The court heard that O’Reilly’s pony, Bluey, was found last April in a field near Cockernhoe. She had been pregnant but had miscarried her foal — which was almost full-term — due to a severe worm infestation.

Bluey was wearing a rug, but her bones could be seen through the material. She was also suffering from severe thrush in all 4 hooves.

Bluey collapsed soon after she was found and was euthanased on veterinary advice.

O’Reilly said he didn’t realise Bluey was pregnant.

RSPCA inspector Tina Ward said: “This poor horse was riddled with worms and was emaciated.  It may be that was why the foal didn’t survive — her body was so weak it just could not cope.”

The RSPCA had advised O’Reilly about appropriate care regarding other horses on previous occasions.

“This suffering could so easily have been avoided,” added Ms Ward. “All she needed was the right care from the owner on whom she depended.”