An experienced horse owner from Worcestershire was sentenced to seven weeks’ imprisonment on 22 February after Redditch Magistrates Court found him guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to three Welsh Section A colts.

Derek Monkton of 49 Broad Street, Bromsgrove, was also banned for life from keeping horses after the ponies, one of which had to be destroyed owing to his condition, were discovered by the RSPCA and the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) at a rented barn near the town in July 2003.

Paul Teasdale, chief field officer at the ILPH, says: “It was a shocking case. The ponies’ feet were in an unbelievable state — they must have been about 8in long — and the ponies could barely walk when we removed them from the property.

“This man has owned horses for years, yet the ponies, who were all three years old, were kept in diabolical conditions in tiny pens with no light, no ventilation and only their own droppings — which had mushrooms growing in them — for bedding.

“Monkton had been feeding them regularly, but claimed he was unable to find a farrier — yet we managed to get one out within an hour. He also claimed that he was exercising the ponies regularly, but we had to dig the gate out of the ground to get them out of the barn.”

It is unusual for owners to be imprisoned in cruelty cases, and, according to Teasdale, the judge commented as such in his summing up — that he felt imprisonment was justified in this instance.

Teasdale adds: “I’m delighted with the severity of the sentence because the living conditions, combined with the damage to the ponies’ feet, made this one of the worst cases of neglect I’ve ever seen.

“It was very sad to lose one of the ponies, but the other two are doing really well and are looking for new homes — as companions, because they can never be ridden.”

The day after receiving his sentence, Monkton signed over nine other ponies in his care to the RSPCA and ILPH.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (3 March, ’05)


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