A man filmed “repeatedly beating” a pony with a plastic pole in a supermarket car park while saying “it’s gotta learn” has been sentenced to 10 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, following an RSPCA prosecution.
John Reid, 31, of Bartholomew Road, Morecambe, was sentenced at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on 3 November after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of a yearling pony called Pebbles.
On 10 October 2020 Reid was filmed by a member of the public “repeatedly beating” Pebbles at a supermarket in Westgate, Morecambe. Footage played to the court showed Reid hitting Pebbles at least 15 times with a blue plastic pole while he is heard saying “It’s gotta learn”.
“Onlookers described how they saw Reid hit Pebbles forcefully with his arm raised above his head and he appeared to strike her every few seconds for several minutes,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
Warning: you may find this video distressing
RSPCA inspector Will Lamping launched an investigation and Pebbles was found to be underweight, with prominent shoulders and her backbone and ribs visible. Mr Lamping reported the stable she was being kept in at St John’s Terrace, Morecambe, was not in good condition, covered in faeces, with poisonous ivy growing at the back. She was seen chewing the wood of her stable and had no feed available.
A vet report submitted to the court added the stable had no bedding, the floor was wet and deep in faeces, and there were a number of plastic bags present.
“This environment was completely unsuitable for a horse due to its unsanitary conditions. There was nowhere clean or dry for the horse to rest in comfort, [with nothing] to protect it from the cold, hard stone floor,” read the report.
Pebbles was seized by police and placed into the care of the RSPCA. In mitigation the court heard the conditions Pebbles was being kept in “were only temporary” and Reid was intending to sell her on.
During sentencing magistrates told Reid the offences were “serious” and he was given a five-year ban on keeping equines, which he cannot apply to terminate for three years. He was sentenced to 10 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £200 costs and £128 victim surcharge.
“Reid’s actions caused Pebbles pain, fear and both physical and psychological suffering. She was very young and she required teaching to educate her rather than being reprimanded in such a way. Beating a pony causes fear and pain that can ultimately affect how she learns and interacts with humans going forward,” said Mr Lamping.
Reid transferred ownership of Pebbles to the RSPCA, who will continue her rehabilitation and find her a new home.
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