Severely emaciated horse so weak he was carried into hospital: owner banned for six years *warning: graphic images*

The owner of a horse described by an RSPCA officer as one of the worst cases of equine neglect he had ever seen has been banned from keeping horses for six years.

Jessica Coffey’s young cob Texas was so emaciated that despite “great efforts” to save him, he had to be put down.

Coffey, 26, of The Corners, Weaverham, Northwich, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on 26 June.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes found the two-year-old in a “horrific” state, with a badly infected swollen penis and struggling to stand, in Brimstage Road, Wirral, on 2 January.

“When I attended, Texas was wearing a rug, which was hiding his poor body condition, but even with that on I could see immediately he was emaciated,” he said.

“His penis was prolapsed and there was obviously a problem there. I could see it was sore and swollen and it got in that terrible state due to his starvation.

“Also the field he was in, along with another cob called Spice, was appalling. It was muddy, there was no grass, there was no natural shelter and nowhere for the horses to lie down and rest.

“When I took his rug off I just stood there in shock at how underweight and lethargic he was – it really saddened me. The other horse, Spice, was a more hardy breed and his weight was much better, although the conditions he was kept in were not.”

With World Horse Welfare’s help, Texas was taken to Leahurst Equine Hospital. He was so weak, he collapsed in the trailer on the way and staff at the hospital had to help carry him in.

Despite extensive treatment, his condition deteriorated and vets decided that “because of his suffering there was no choice but to put him to sleep”.

“It was appalling failure that no help was sought for Texas when it was quite obvious he was suffering,” Mr Joynes said. “I know Coffey went to the field on New Year’s Day and if she had alerted us to his state then, we might have been able to save him.

“We really did everything to try to help him pull through and it is so sad that he did not make it as he was such a lovely boy.”

World Horse Welfare field officer Rachel Andrews was also on the scene.

She said: “Without a doubt he was one of the most emaciated horses I’ve ever seen. His bones stood out with literally no coverage of fat whatsoever and I have no idea how he was strong enough to stay standing up.

“He looked absolutely pitiful with his head hanging low and was clearly in extreme pain from his swollen sheath; we knew we had to get him out of there as soon as possible.

“I’m always extremely sad when a horse is put down but with Texas I felt it more than usual, he was such a sweet boy and I just wish we had been alerted to his plight a few days earlier in case we could have saved him.”

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Coffey was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay £1,100 costs. H&H attempted to contact her for comment.

Spice is now undergoing rehabilitation with World Horse Welfare and it is hoped will be found a new home in the near future.

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