Champion Dartmoor pony breeder and judge David Hinde has been banned from keeping animals for 12 years.
Hinde, 50, breached a previous equine ban, caused unnecessary suffering to a pony and two cats and failed to meet needs of 52 cats, a court ruled.
On Wednesday (18 March) after a six day trial — which began on Friday 6 February and concluded on Friday 13 February — Hinde was convicted of two allegations of breach of ban; one of causing unnecessary suffering to a bay pony called “Fred” by failing to provide veterinary treatment; two of causing unnecessary suffering to two individual pedigree cats, and one of failing to meet the needs of 52 pedigree cats. He also received a 20-month suspended prison sentence.
“The RSPCA was contacted after Fred was put to sleep on veterinary advice at a field where he was being grazed in Preston, and four other ponies were transported from the same location. Fred was collapsed, and emaciated,” said RSPCA inspector Nick Welch.
“An Animal Welfare Act warrant was executed at David Hinde’s address in October 2012 and a mobile phone, horse passports and paperwork, including a knackerman’s invoice relating to the removal of Fred’s body, were seized. Text messages found on a phone used by David Hinde were described by the District Judge in his verdict as ‘highly incriminating’.”
Hinde’s parents — Cynthia and Raymond Hinde — were also sentenced. They were both banned from keeping all animals, except dogs, for five years, and fined £500 each payable at £10 each per month.
“The RSPCA welcomes the verdicts of the court and hopes the sentences passed today send out a clear message that keeping animals is a privilege and one which should always hold the welfare of the animal with the utmost priority, whether they be kept as pets or for profit,” added Inspector Welch.
“The suffering endured by Fred who was so thin that he had collapsed and was unable to stand, is inexcusable in any arena, but is aggravated by the previous convictions of this defendant. Sadly Fred did not respond to veterinary intervention and had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.”
However, the breeder is concerned that the famous Pumphill bloodlines are now at risk. Mr Hinde bred the 2010 dual Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and Olympia champion Pumphill Buckthorn.
In 2011 he was banned from keeping horses for three years, after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a pony. At the time he also pleaded guilty to not meeting the needs of 13 other ponies by failing to address the causes of their poor body condition.
Hinde denies the pony was neglected by him and says that if the RSPCA removes the ponies the Pumphill bloodline will be lost.
He claims that if the RSPCA removes the ponies they will not continue to be bred from and a gene pool of a rare breed will be lost.
The RSPCA told H&H the family now has 21 days to rehome the ponies before they pass into RSPCA care.
“If the ponies do come to us, it is the RSPCA’s standard position that animals rehomed from us aren’t bred from because of overpopulation but these decisions are dealt with on a case by case basis and we would work with the relevant breed societies to address any concerns,” an RSPCA spokesman added.
Mr Hinde told H&H he will appeal the ban.