The owner of a filly found “emaciated, covered in lice and tethered in an unsuitable environment” has been banned from keeping equines for two years.
Jason Cooper, 44, of Pound Road, Pennington, was sentenced at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on 5 October.
Cooper was found guilty of three charges of causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act, after piebald filly Tippee was found tethered next to a stallion at Admiralty Way, Marchwood, between December 2017 and January 2018.
Charities World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA removed the filly, Tippee, on 16 January.
World Horse Welfare field officer Penny Baker said: “A concerned member of the public called our welfare line to report a stallion tethered which kept escaping but when I arrived, I immediately noticed Tippee tethered just six metres away on the same embankment and in a terrible state.
“She was very wobbly on her feet, weak and even though she had a thick winter coat I could see the sharp angles of her bones underneath which indicated that she was seriously underweight. She was incredibly sweet-natured but clearly in need of urgent veterinary treatment.”
Mr Cooper had claimed he had bought Tippee a few weeks earlier and she was already in a poor state then, his original grazing had become too muddy and he had also grazed her in the New Forest but had been asked to leave, which is why she had ended up in the place where the World Horse Welfare field officer found her.
Ms Baker said the embankment is often used for tethered horses but that the area is “incredibly dangerous”.
“It’s a very steep hill with only a small area which is relatively flat, with sheer drops on either side and poor quality grazing. It is completely unsuitable for keeping horses and I would hope this would deter others from using this same site.
“Tippee’s owner had purchased her a few weeks earlier and had then been unable to find suitable grazing so had resorted to tethering in this location. He had clearly not been providing for her needs and she is very lucky to have survived the severe redworm infestation she was suffering from.”
RSPCA inspector Tina Ward, who investigated said: “Tippee was in poor bodily condition, her hooves and teeth were in an awful state, and she had an untreated lice infestation. Cooper had already been told to remove her from the common by the [New Forest] agisters because of her poor bodily condition.
“Cooper had a lifetime of experience of owning and keeping horses and should have known no horse should have been left to suffer in the way Tippee had been.
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“The practice of tethering horses, whilst far from ideal, is not illegal in this country, so owners who choose to keep their horses this way must go the extra mile to ensure all the horse’s welfare needs are being met.”
Tippee is now in the care of World Horse Welfare at Glenda Spooner Farm and will be looking for a new home in the near future.
Cooper was fined £180 and ordered to pay £250 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
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