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Man banned after ‘shocking neglect’ of 13 horses

A man has admitted causing unnecessary suffering to 13 horses.

Two of the horses were found dead from neglect. A further 6 were put down shortly afterwards.

William Cook, 73, from Kent, pleaded guilty to 18 separate charges under the Animal Welfare Act in relation to 13 horses. He appeared before Dartford Magistrates Court on Friday 23 May.

Cook was disqualified from keeping horses for 10 years, sentenced to a 24-week suspended prison sentence and given a curfew order preventing him from leaving his home between 10am and 4pm for 6 months. He also has to pay £24,656 and a victim surcharge of £80.

The RSPCA was first called to an address in Edenbridge in November 2013 after concerns over the state of a group of horses. Inspectors visited the property, plus another premises nearby, on numerous occasions over the following 3 months.

On the latest visit, many horses were found in various stages of neglect, some so underweight and weak that they struggled to stand.

Some were suffering from internal parasites, which led to severe diarrhoea.

RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby said: “This was a shocking case of horse neglect, and many different horses were left to suffer — many of them eventually dying.

“Although the scale of this particular case was extreme, it is sadly not unusual to find horses left to suffer in this way. It is a crisis we face on a national scale, but the issues seem particularly bad in this area of the country.”

One of the survivors, Lily, a Welsh mountain pony, is already available for rehoming, and it is hoped that the other 4 — a black cob, a black pony, yearling part-bred Shetland and coloured mare — will also be ready for rehoming shortly.

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