A vet is calling for stronger powers to tackle equine welfare issues after a woman was sentenced for the “worst neglect case ever seen”.
The case involved a one year old colt — who has since been named Shrimpy — who was rescued from a small paddock in Stanton Hill Mansfield, Notts, as he was so malnourished he was unable to stand in February 2014 (see video, top, of Shrimpy the day after he was rescued).
Earlier this month (3 February) his owner Sarah Tugby was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the colt.
“It was the worst case of animal neglect I have seen in my 20 years as a veterinary surgeon,” said Janice Dixon, who gave evidence at Mansfield magistrates in February.
“It was the closest to death that I have seen an animal, but he was lucky enough to survive.
“The poor defenseless animal was all skin and bones, covered in lice and was riddled with worms.”
Tugby, 43, was given a 14-month jail term suspended for 12 months, and banned from keeping horses for 10 years. She was also given 100 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £700 costs.
Shrimpy has made a “miraculous recovery” and is now a healthy two-year-old (pictured below).
Miss Dixon is now calling for stronger powers to be put into place to protect horses because other animals were left in Tugby’s care in the 12 months it took to bring the case to court (view video below of the horses left in the paddock, who were eating droppings as there was nothing else to eat).
“Shrimpy’s mother was also taken into care due to welfare issues but sadly seven further horses had to remain in the paddock,” Miss Dixon told H&H.
“I regularly visited, provided water and checked on these remaining horses over the past 12 months in an effort to prevent their demise. In stark contrast, as the law stands, unless I allowed them to deteriorate further we had no grounds to remove them.
“I believe this is an unacceptable circumstance where you have the grounds to remove two horses but yet the remaining seven can be left behind.”
One of the remaining seven ponies in the paddock who is eating droppings as there is nothing else available to eat
Miss Dixon argues that at the moment there is no “system in place for equine welfare” and that a government appointed body should be given the power to take an active role.
“Unlike Defra, a vet and an animal charity has no power or authority to intervene where there is clearly a welfare issue — this is where a government appointed body could alleviate suffering in an immediate way,” she added.
“I would also like to see Trading Standards to take a more proactive role in the prosecution of owners and keepers who fail to comply with the current horse passport legislation.”