The owner of a horse found left to starve has been banned from keeping equines for three years.

Paul Hamilton, of no fixed address, admitted the charge of causing unncessary suffering, at Truro Magistrates Court on 22 August. 

The 59-year-old admitted leaving an 18-year-old mare without food and water between January and April 2018. 

Neighbours contacted the RSPCA after Mr Hamilton, a former horse transporter, ignored their pleas to take better care of the mare.

Inspector Jon Phipps of the RSPCA, who investigated, said: “There is never an excuse to simply leave an animal to suffer. When Norma was rescued she was in a shocking state. It was heartbreaking to see her struggling for survival. 

“Thankfully she’s now recovered and looking amazing after spending time in our care and is now looking for a loving new home.”

Sentencing, Judge Diana Baker said: “Norma was in your care and, for such a long period of time, was not properly looked after. She did not receive food and this caused real suffering, leaving her close to death.

“Because of this she lived with pain and discomfort for months and the vet said they found her curled up. So worried were vets they seized the horse straight away. 

“You didn’t listen to neighbours who you may have thought were interfering. Even though they told you their concerns you didn’t do anything and they had to go out of their way to provide Norma with food.



“You say you were very busy at work. This is not an excuse. If you have a horse you have a responsibility. You said you had a lack of expenses. This is not an excuse. If you can’t afford to you don’t keep horses. They require food, veterinary care etc.”

Solicitor Neil Lewin mitigating on behalf of Mr Hamilton said: “He accepts this is a serious matter, but it came during an unfortunate period of time. Mr Hamilton injured himself and was unable to work and financial difficulties led him to not being able to obtain food.”
The RSCPCA inspector thanked members of the public who voiced their concerns over Norma’s welfare, enabling her rescue.

Mr Hamilton was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay £385 in court costs.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.