A farrier who was captured on CCTV carrying out an “inexcusably violent” attack on a horse has been banned from keeping equines for three years – but can continue to work as a farrier.
Michael Francis McNamara, 40, of The Glebe, St Mellion, Saltash, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to one offence of animal cruelty following a prosecution by the RSPCA when he appeared at Bodmin Magistrates Court on 22 August. The defendant was caught on CCTV in a 12-minute clip “repeatedly jabbing, kicking and punching” a bay gelding on 4 January at stables in Liskeard, Cornwall.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “During the clip McNamara can be seen kicking the horse on the side on at least two occasions, before punching the horse in the face, and hitting the horse in the side multiple times with the end of the handles of long metal pliers.”
**Warning: some readers may find the following video upsetting**
RSPCA Inspector, Claire Ryder, who investigated, added: “This was a vicious and sustained attack on a horse, who for much of it was tethered and unable to escape while being exposed to inexcusable violence.”
The court heard McNamara had more than 20 years’ experience professionally shoeing horses. The court said he can continue to work as a farrier, but he must be supervised by an adult at all times.
McNamara told H&H: “I clearly understand I should not have given the horse blunt-force blows but at the same time the horse’s actions are not shown in the RSPCA’s [10-second] clip. From what I’ve heard it has been reported one-sided.
“I was in a really awkward position. I had been doing the horse’s front feet for 20 minutes and [he] was as good as gold. I had done two strikes of taking the shoe off the back foot with the shoe-pullers and on the second pull the horse reacted by slamming his feet down in a kicking action three times. He took my tools to the ground and I picked my tools up which were attached to his foot as they hit the ground. He ran me backwards 180 degrees to the wall where I put out my tool to him. The RSPCA said he couldn’t get away but he had the whole yard and he stayed up against me in the wall.”
McNamara said after the incident there was “no more conflict” for the rest of the shoeing.
“I re-shod the foot and put the shoe back on, and re-shod the other foot fine. I ended up with cuddles and at no time was there disgruntlement between me and the customer,” he said.
“The video has never been shown of me there the whole time. But even so the the video shown in court you do see enough that it shows I’m not hitting it for no reason. It clearly showed the shoe is pulled and the horse is standing there with a half torn-off shoe.
“It’s an awkward positon to be in. I reacted the wrong way and regret my actions. I am in the wrong but I feel the way it’s being sold and the way the RSPCA have said it, the short video makes me look like a rogue.”
McNamara‘s disqualification from keeping equines cannot be appealed for two years. It prevents him owning, keeping, trading, transporting or or being a party to an arrangement whereby he is entitled to influence the way in which any equines are kept.
Article continued below…
‘Had the owner sought veterinary care earlier then his suffering could have been easily prevented’
‘It looks to me that as poor Jack was getting older, someone thought he wasn’t good enough any more and
Take advantage of our sale on Horse & Hound magazine subscriptions today
He was ordered to pay £300 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He was also ordered to wear an electronic tag, and was made subject to a 26-week curfew meaning he must stay in his home from 7pm until 5am.
A spokesman for the Farriers Registration Council said the council is aware of McNamara’s conviction.
“The matter shall be considered by the council under statutory provisions set out in the Farriers Registration Act, and operated independently of the council. It would not therefore be appropriate to comment at this stage on the case nor any possible outcome,” he said.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.