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Guilty verdict for “cruel” owners

David Jack, 47, of Billingshurst, West Sussex, and Jason Passey, 30, ofBrighton, East Sussex, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a 18-month-old bay filly named Isla at Hayward’s Heath Magistrates Court last week. They will be sentenced at Horsham Magistrates Court on 7 August.

The ILPH were alerted to the yearling’s condition on 19 June last year. An ILPH field officer, Ted Barnes, visited The Tedfold Stud in Billingshurst, West Sussex, where the pony was beingkept on livery, the same day and was horrified by her condition.

“It was a pitiful sight,” Ted told HHO. “Almost the entire length of Isla’s spine was visible, along with her ribs and pelvic structure. Her hindquarters were caved in and showed little sign of any fat. She was also suffering from either rain-scald or a severe lice infestation.

“She was emaciated and was in as bad a state as any of the cruelty cases I have been involved with.”

Ted alerted the RSPCA to the filly’s state and with the assistance of a vet and the local police, she was taken into the RSPCA’s care, where she has now made a full recovery.

Ted is hopeful that the owners will receive a suitable punishment when they are sentenced. “Let us hope that the magistrates will pass a sentence that reflects the severity of the crime,” he says.

An RSPCA spokesperson told HHO: “We are hopeful that the court will confiscate the horse from the owners at the hearing in August, which will then enable us to rehome her.”

David Jack disputes the court’s findings and is planning to appeal. He told HHO: “I realised the filly was looking unwell on 14 May so I brought her in, wormed her and treated her for lice.

“I then waited a couple of days to see if she would improve, as I believe any horseowner would. When she didn’t show any improvement in her condition I called my vet who advised me that she was suffering from the effects of worms migrating through her gut, which had been triggered by me worming her, and we began treatment.

“When the ILPH and the RSPCA got involved they didn’t ask if the filly was unwell or was receiving veterinary treatment . They simply took her away. If the filly had remained with me she would have made a full recovery.”

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