Stallion with maggots ‘tunnelling’ into leg ulcers put down: owner’s appeal dismissed

  • The owner of a horse who had to be put down owing to his maggot-infested ulcerated leg condition has lost his appeal against his conviction.

    William Byrne, of Eastbourne Close, Preston, was banned from keeping horses for 10 years, and given an 18-week suspended prison sentence, at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court last November, having been found guilty of two animal welfare charges.

    At an appeal hearing at Preston Crown Court on Friday (24 November), the 48-year-old’s appeal was dismissed, and he was ordered to pay £300 costs.

    H&H reported last year that in September 2021, concerns about the cob, Tiny, were raised with the RSPCA. The stallion was found with severe leg issues, and police and vets were called.

    “Tiny was transported to World Horse Welfare to undergo emergency treatment, but sadly, despite the vet’s best efforts, he had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering,” an RSPCA spokesman said.

    In a witness statement, the vet who treated Tiny on behalf of the RSPCA said he “had a known condition that had been diagnosed previously,” but although he had had some veterinary treatment, “further examination was denied by the owner, and almost three months later the horse was still suffering”.

    “The limbs of this horse were ulcerated in areas, bleeding and inflamed, and there was a secondary bacterial infection present,” the vet said “The right hind limb also had a maggot infestation, which would have also caused further distress. In my opinion, the owner did not act in the best interests of the welfare of this horse – a responsible, caring owner would have sought adequate veterinary care.”

    After the appeal hearing, RSPCA inspector William Lamping, who was involved in the investigation, said: “Tiny hadn’t received the veterinary care he so obviously needed, to the point where maggots were tunnelling into his skin.

    “A responsible owner would have recognised the gravity of the situation and acted in a timely manner, but Bryne failed to do so and Tiny suffered unnecessarily for months as a result.”

    At the time of sentencing, magistrates heard the defendant had cited incompetent care rather than deliberate neglect.

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