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‘He will live for ever in our hearts’: heartbreak as youngster put down a week after rescue

The legacy of a youngster who “lost his fight to live” a week after being rescued will live on in a welfare charity’s hearts.

Bransby Horses became involved in a welfare case in 2017 when field officers were called out to three horses living in inappropriate conditions, with limited access to water or food. One horse was tethered, underweight and needed farriery attention.

A charity spokesman said that after locating an owner, the field officers discovered the horse was under veterinary care and so the charity worked with the owner to improve the condition of the horses.

“We supported the owner for months with a feeding plan and regular visits, which happily resulted in all three equines’ welfare improving,” he said.

“The owner had engaged [with us] and completed all requested improvements, and there were no longer any welfare concerns. One of the mares in the herd had also foaled a beautiful colt, and all was well. Our team was naturally happy with the positive outcome.”

The spokesman said the charity’s team continued to monitor the herd over the next few months and was satisfied with the owner’s “new ways of working”, resulting in the case being closed with no further concerns raised by the public.

“Sadly the story doesn’t end there,” said the spokesman. “A year later one of our field officers became aware of a collapsed equine. On arrival it quickly became apparent this was the same herd from the year before. The owner had moved them to new surroundings and the level of care for the equines had seriously diminished.

“The youngster was in serious need of veterinary intervention. The RSPCA came to support us with a vet, who deemed the horse was suffering, and he was removed under the Animal Welfare Act.”

The spokesman said the youngster was transported to Bransby’s intensive care unit and named Peter, after the charity’s founder Peter Hunt as it was the anniversary of his death.

“Peter received round-the-clock care while the staff and vets fought tirelessly to save him,” he said.

“Unfortunately due to pneumonia, combined with a high worm burden and severe lice infestation, Peter lost his fight to live. Peter was only with us for one week but touched the hearts of everyone who met him and he’ll never be forgotten.”

An RSPCA investigation was launched, and Bransby worked with the charity to deliver a “successful outcome” in court.

“The owner pleaded guilty to failing to investigate and address the cause of a poor body condition and weight loss. They were given a community order and ordered to pay costs,” said the spokesman.

“They were also disqualified from owning or keeping horses for 10 years and ordered to sign over any remaining equines into the care of Bransby Horses.”

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Bransby welcomed Peter’s dam, named Dora by the charity, and the other horses Diego and Alicia.

“Finally they were safe and would receive the love and care they deserved,” said the spokesman.

“Diego and Alicia were underweight when they came to us but Dora was getting rounder by the day. It was soon apparent she was in foal. In 2019 we welcomed beautiful Boots. She captured our hearts the second we saw her. Peter never got to live the life that Boots will, but he will live for ever in her legacy and our hearts.”

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