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A retired farmer who failed to treat his horse’s severe laminitis has escaped a ban on keeping animals.

George Adam, 69, of Bannockburn, was sentenced at Stirling Sheriff Court on Thursday (3 November). He was ordered to pay a £450 fine.

Adam admitted causing his 15-year-old chestnut mare, “Wriggles” unnecessary suffering by failing to seek veterinary attention for her chronic laminitis.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) investigated Adam after receiving a complaint from a member of the public in September 2010.

Inspector Leanne McPake said the mare was unable to move, had severely overgrown hooves and was overweight.

“Wriggles was in extreme pain as a result of her laminitis and needed nerve blocks in all four legs to allow her to move,” she said.

“It took us three days to stabilise her so we could move her from the farm to one of our centres,” she added.

But although horses can recover from laminitis if the disease is treated immediately, in this case it was so far advanced that Wriggles did not respond to treatment and was the decision was taken to put her to sleep.

Ms McPake said she was disgusted by the case.

“Adam showed complete ignorance in providing even the basic care required for his horse,” she said.

“He also failed to have Wriggles’s hooves trimmed in fifteen years, which is recommended every six to eight weeks, and they were in a horrific state.”

The Scottish SPCA said that while it had to accept the decisions of the court, it would have liked to see a stiffer sentence.

A spokesman said: “Given the nature of this case we would have supported a ban on keeping animals, ideally for life.

“This was a tragic outcome and one which could have been avoided.”