Ban for owner who ‘left horses to starve’

  • A man, who “left two horses to starve” in a field, one of whom later had to be put down, has been banned from keeping equines for five years.

    Paul Simpson, 60, of Maple Avenue, Alsager, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 7 November for sentencing, having pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act at an earlier hearing.

    The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public who had seen a horse lying down in a field off Mere Lake Road, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent. A bay mare, Polly, and a grey mare, Biscuit were found “skinny and lame, covered in lice and with no food or water”.

    Between 1 November and 28 November 2017 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of the poor bodily condition and weight loss of Polly and Biscuit.

    Before 28 November 2018 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by housing a lame horse, Polly, on wet muddy ground,

    Between 8 August 2017 and 28 November 2017 Simpson failed to provide veterinary care for Biscuit’s lameness.

    RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated, said: “Both horses had rugs on them but I could still see every bone sticking out. I attended with World Horse Welfare, a vet and the police and we were all immediately concerned. Both horses had a really depressed demeanour and were just standing there not moving.

    “The vet had a look at them and made the decision that they were suffering and needed immediate veterinary attention. They both had low body scores, one was given a body score of 0.5 out of five and the other was given a score of one.

    “Polly, also had a swollen knee from an untreated injury, and Biscuit had a massive bone abscess on one of her front hooves which would have been incredibly painful for her and was the reason why she was so lame.”

    Biscuit was found to have “pus coming out of every hoof” and was “so poorly” the vet made the decision to put her down. Polly was taken into the care of World Horse Welfare.

    World Horse Welfare field officer Rachel Andrews said: “These horses were not coping with the environment they were being kept in and it highlights the importance of ensuring you have the time, facilities and finance to give your animal the care it requires and deserves. I’m pleased that Polly has improved massively in condition and temperament now that she’s in our care.”

    In mitigation, the court heard Simpson said he attended Polly and Biscuit regularly and that the two horses on the field were in good body condition.

    Simpson was given a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and a two-week curfew, and was ordered to pay £250 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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