Newmarket man found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to thoroughbred

  • A man who described himself as an “assistant racehorse trainer” has been found guilty of causing a thoroughbred unnecessary suffering.

    Michael Hammond, of Lester Piggott Way, Newmarket, was sentenced at Cambridge Magistrates Court last Thursday (15 August). He was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and complete 40hr of community service.

    World Horse Welfare, who rescued the horse, said Mr Hammond was running a Cambridgeshire yard taking in and selling on ex-racehorses. He pleaded guilty to causing 15.2hh five-year-old mare Una Vita Pius, known as Galaxy, unnecessary suffering. Galaxy had run nine times when in training.

    The horse was found emaciated and dehydrated on 28 February. She is now recovering at World Horse Welfare’s headquarters in Norfolk.

    Galaxy’s owner, Heidi Challis of Queensway, Soham, was also in court. She also pleaded guilty, but the court accepted she had played a lesser role. She received a £70 fine and was ordered to pay the charity £470 in costs.

    In January World Horse Welfare received a call from a member of the public who was concered about the condition of some horses.

    On a subsequent visit, accompanied by Trading Standards, improvement notices were issued on 10 of the horses, and World Horse Welfare also offered to have 3 horses of concern signed over into their care. This offer was refused. On 28 February the organisation received another call, this time about a collapsed horse.

    World Horse Welfare’s Jacko Jackson said: “Trading standards were able to reach the scene first and I arranged for a vet to meet them there and give emergency treatment. When I was able to reach the site Galaxy was standing, but it was clear that she was within days of dying.”

    Jacko added he was “disappointed” Mr Hammond has not received any sort of ban from keeping or caring for horses.

    “For someone who was supposedly rehabilitating ex-racehorses like Galaxy, it beggars belief that a horse in his care could get into such a state, particularly as we had offered help and advice previously,” he said.

    Galaxy is continuing to gain condition thanks to World Horse Welfare. Pic by World Horse Welfare

    Viki Cooper, supervisor at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm, added: “When Galaxy came in she was incredibly weak. We had a vet on hand to treat her straight away.

    “She had to have an emergency fluid drip due to her dehydration and diarrhoea, and antibiotics to fight off a salmonella infection, and for the first few days it was touch and go.

    “A few months later Galaxy is now a different horse (pictured above). She is full of life and is continuing to gain weight.”

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