A West Sussex owner has been banned for keeping all equines for three years after being convicted of neglecting and abusing four horses. Alby Peter Smith, 50, left three of his horses to starve and shut another in a dark, unventilated stable.

World Horse Welfare Officer Ted Barnes received a tip off on 9 December 2009, and entered Smith’s premises on Cooks Lane, Southbourne, near Chichester, with RSPCA inspector Carter, a police officer and an independent vet.

“In the first box were a couple of youngsters,” said Barnes. “One had collapsed completely and was lying against the door, on a filthy dirty floor. The bedding, the hay and the water were contaminated with faeces. The recumbent horse never attempted to get up, let alone move. He was alive, but extremely week.”

The collapsed horse was put down the following day. In the next box was a dangerously thin young bay. Her hindquarters, legs and tail were saturated in liquid faeces. Another horse was being kept on its own in a filthy, pitch-black stable.

Smith was convicted at Worthing Magistrates Court on 21st September of causing unnecessary suffering to one horse and of failing to meet the needs of four horses in his care, under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. He was banned from keeping horses for three years, deprived of his three remaining horses, put under a 7pm to 7am curfew, and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

The three surviving horses have made full recoveries at World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Somerton, Somerset.