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The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has said it is disappointed with the £720 fine handed to chairman of the Fjord Horse Registry of Scotland David Stewart.

Stewart pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three Fjord ponies at Banff Sheriff Court, Stewart on 17 March. The horses died of starvation and malnutrition.

The three ponies, one an aged mare and the other two both under five years old, died in December 2007.

SSPCA chief inspector John Carle said: “The society is extremely disappointed with the outcome of the case. In cases of severe animal cruelty such as this we are always seeking a lifetime ban on keeping animals.

“We cannot understand why an outright ban or fixed term disqualification, was not given in this instance.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to investigate and prosecute those who show cruelty towards animals through neglect or abuse.”

In March 2008 H&H reported that the Scottish government had revoked the stud book’s status as a passport issuing organisation.