Owner banned after “grossly overweight” ponies rescued

  • The owner of two “grossly overweight” ponies – one of which was 40 stones heavier than it should have been – has been banned for keeping equines for five years.

    Jerry and JoJo were rescued in March 2011 from a farm near Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The native types had been allowed to live with cows, eating a rich cattle diet including silage and cow nuts.

    Jerry, a 13.3hh Welsh was 20 stone overweight and JoJo, a 14.2hhh New Forest was almost 40 stone overweight when they were taken in by Bristol-based charity HorseWorld six months ago.

    Jerry on arrival

    Jerry now

    Owner Alice Newth was banned for five years, after pleading guilty at a hearing on 2 September at South Somerset Magistrates’ Court in Yeovil.

    On top of the ban she was given a two-year supervision order and 180 hours community service. She was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards the RSCPA’s costs.

    The two ponies are now recovering at HorseWorld, and are making good progress towards their combined target weight loss of 60 stone.

    JoJo has already lost weight equivalent to a whole donkey – around 20 stones – but will still be on a diet for some time. She has so far lost an inch and a half in height where huge fat deposits had been laid down over her back, neck and withers. Jerry is almost at his ideal weight.

    The ponies’ hooves, which should be trimmed every six to eight weeks were left for over two years, which with their excess weight, meant they “turned up like Aladdin’s slippers”.

    “It was so upsetting to see them both trying to walk on their flipper-like feet,” said Joanne Vaughn from HorseWorld.

    “Jerry’s hooves measured 12in from heel to toe, and were turned up like Aladdin’s slippers. He had such extensive hoof damage X-rays showed the bone inside had rotated and dropped. Had they been left much longer it is very likely the bone could have penetrated through the sole of the hoof.

    JoJo was so heavy she sunk into the ground in the paddock. She was the weight of a much larger horse trying to walk on pony sized hooves. The pain these animals went through is unthinkable. This was completely avoidable and an inexcusable case of neglect.”

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