A man from Aberdeenshire has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting two ponies who had “some of the worst feet” World Horse Welfare had ever seen.

Shetland ponies “Haggis” and “Neeps” were found with grossly overgrown feet following a call by a member of the public in July 2010.

Sixty-five-year-old Keith Ritchie, of Maidencraig Place, Mastrick, Aberdeen pleaded guilty yesterday (Wednesday 20 June) at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to one offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act for failing to provide the necessary veterinary attention.

The conviction comes following an investigation by the Scottish SPCA.

Ritchie was banned from keeping all animals for life and fined £750.

The court heard how on Friday 30 July 2010 a concerned member of the public reported the Shetland stallions – who were grazing on an area of grassland near Aberdeen – to World Horse Welfare.

Field officer Doug Howie visited the site and found the ponies had access to 60 acres of grazing.

Neeps, was severely overweight with long feet and Haggis, was overweight and lame with long feet.

“These ponies’ feet were amongst the worst I have ever seen,” said Mr Howe.

“Their feet had clearly been neglected for many months, perhaps even years, causing a great deal of pain and suffering. I am satisfied with the result as it means Mr Ritchie won’t be able to inflict this kind of misery onto other animals again.”

Caroline Heard at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm added: “Just a glance at these ponies was an instant shock. They were overweight and the length of their feet was unbelievable. Haggis could not stand still as he was literally on rockers behind. There had obviously been no attempt at managing these ponies and they undoubtedly suffered from this neglect.”