A man has been banned from keeping animals for life after eight horses in his care had to be euthanised.
The RSPCA was sent to investigate 57-year-old Carl Kawka after concerns were raised over 10 horses he kept at stables off Duchess Street, Oldham.
RSPCA inspector Danni Jennings, along with officers from World Horse Welfare (WHW) discovered eight horses crippled by severely overgrown and deformed hooves.
The animals were found in a stable block “piled-high” with faeces and two of the horses had to be dug out as the muck was blocking the stable door.
Five of the horses were put to sleep to end their suffering on the advice of an independent vet.
Three more were sent for emergency treatment, but they were in such poor condition that the vet also decided they should be euthanised.
Only two of the horses were able to be saved and have since made a recovery following lengthy treatment.
One horse called Ronnie has now been rehomed, while another called Celine is recovering well and will be made available for re-homing in the near future.
Tameside Magistrate’s Court was told the horses had not been visited by the farrier for at least 12 months, leaving the animals struggling to walk.
Kawka, of Greenbank Road, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences when the case was heard on 1 August.
“Because of the filth in the stables it was difficult to see how bad the hooves were but then it soon became apparent when we led them outside,” said inspector Danni Jennnings.
“This is the worst case of horse neglect I have seen in my 11-year career as an RSPCA inspector. The horses were clearly suffering and were crippled, they were struggling to walk and it was obvious they had not seen the light of day for a long period of time.
“The way they were neglected was horrific – it was a really sad and depressing day for all involved.”
‘People have had muzzles cut off with knives, fly masks removed, grass cuttings and potato peelings emptied in fields –
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In mitigation, the court heard Kawka was struggling with caring for the horses due to health issues.
As well as the ban on keeping all animals Kawka was also given an 18-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months as well as a five month curfew between 7pm and 7am, £400 costs and was ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.