Man sentenced following ‘foal in a bit’ outrage

  • A man who trussed up a colt using a makeshift rope harness has been sentenced to community service after photos of the foal wearing a bit sparked widespread outcry on social media last year.

    Photos of the foal tied up in a tight harness and wearing a bit sparked widespread outcry on social media last year.

    The RSPCA stepped in and seized the colt along with two other horses from the site in Esholt, near Baildon, last year.

    Henry Brewer, 48, of Esholt Lane Caravan Site, was found guilty of three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at a hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court in September.

    Juliette before

    He appeared at the same court for sentencing on 31 October and was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months and pay costs of £1,500 plus a £85 victim surcharge.

    The court heard that between February 2016 and March 2016, Brewer caused unnecessary suffering to a 10-month-old skewbald filly called Juliette, also known as Trixie, a 10-month-old bay colt called Tom Jones, also known as Sea Biscuit, and a three-year-old piebald mare called Lily.

    This was by failing to investigate their poor body conditions and weight loss.

    Juliette after

    Tom Jones after

    He was also found to have kept the three horses in filthy conditions, failing to provide them with adequate bedding, clean water and suitable food.

    In his defence, the court heard he had always kept his horses like that and he did not think there was anything wrong with it.

    After his conviction, Brewer did accept he had fallen short of the necessary standards required by law.

    “The photos of Tom Jones seen last year on social media still haunt us, as I’m sure they do many other animal lovers,” said RSPCA inspector Carol Neale following the sentencing.

    “We acted as quickly as we could within the remit of the law to get access to the caravan site and find this foal.”

    She added they then discovered the two other horses who “were also suffering”.

    “Brewer had tried to hide them from us, but with the police and a vet present we were able to locate them,” said Inspector Neale.

    This has been a long and testing case, and is a good example of how our work investigating cruelty takes a great deal of caution and care.

    “It’s taken many months of our team working with the foals to get them to a healthy weight and the difference in them is obvious to see.”

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    Sadly Lily had to be put down due to “major issues” with her mouth, which she was born with.

    The two foals are in RSPCA care and the charity is hoping to rehome them.

    “They are absolutely super little horses with lots of potential,” said Inspector Neale.

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