A man who allowed three horses to suffer including two pregnant mares has been banned from keeping equines for five years.
Nicolas Green, 61, of Glebe Close, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, was found guilty of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on 23 December.
It was found Green caused unnecessary suffering and failed to address the poor condition of mares Elsa and Summer. He also did not meet the needs or address the poor condition of a horse called Guard.
An RSPCA spokesman said members of the public reported concerns about the horses’ condition and a lack of food and water, to the charity and World Horse Welfare. A vet was called on 21 February 2020 after it was felt the situation had become “critical”.
“Officers had visited on several occasions during the two months prior, leaving notices asking the owner to get in contact with them but had had no owner contact in that time,” he said.
“In the vet’s opinion Summer and Elsa were in very poor body condition, and their nutritional demands were not being met, especially as both were found to be pregnant. The vet felt they were suffering at the time of examination; and was concerned their suffering was likely to continue, and potentially worsen.”
The spokesman added that a member of the public reported she filled the water tubs in the field almost daily, as “otherwise they would be empty”, and that feeding by the owner was sporadic.
RSPCA chief inspector Rob Hartley said owners must always ensure they are acting in a responsible manner to safeguard the welfare of their horses.
“This could have been avoided if Green had provided clean fresh water and forage, plus hard feed with a vitamin and mineral supplement for the mares in particular, twice daily over the winter months,” he said.
Green was sentenced to a 12-month community order to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. He must pay £1,000 costs, plus a victim surcharge of £90. A deprivation order was granted in respect of the horses.
In February 2020, Elsa and Summer were taken to Redwings Horse Sanctuary, where Elsa gave birth to a filly the following month, named Bruni.
“Very sadly Summer gave birth to a stillborn foal in April. Thanks to Elsa’s companionship and lots of care from Redwings’ vet and equine teams, Summer recovered from her loss and the three spent the summer enjoying time out in a field together,” said the RSPCA spokesman.
“Over the summer the two horses slowly began to regain weight, their stiffness was managed and they enjoyed the company of their carers. However in October Summer was brought into Redwings’ hospital with severe lameness caused by a hoof abscess. Upon further inspection it became clear that she was also suffering from osteomyelitis – an infection of the pedal bone in her foot.”
The spokesman said despite best efforts to keep Summer comfortable it was decided the “kindest thing to do” was to put her down.
“To treat her infection would have required surgery with a potentially long and painful recovery and, coupled with Summer’s existing osteoarthritis in her hind legs, it wasn’t deemed fair,” he said.
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The charity said the colt received round-the-clock care while vets fought “tirelessly” to save him
“Owning horses is a privilege, and despite repeated warnings, the standards of care have fallen well short of legal requirements
Redwings’ chief executive Lynn Cutress added while the charity is “incredibly sad” to have lost Summer, they take comfort she had 10 happy months in the charity’s care.
“Her and Elsa had many health issues to overcome when they first came to the sanctuary and it’s thanks to the actions of the RSPCA and the dedication of our teams that these beautiful best friends were able to come so far together,” she said.
“Their care gave Elsa’s foal Bruni a chance at a healthy and happy life, and we now look forward to being able to give this stunning mother and daughter a loving forever home.”
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