Ban for owner who over-rugged horses

  • A Cambridgeshire man who left his horses in thick rugs in hot summer sunshine has been banned from keeping equines for three years.

    Robert Fisk, 47, of Walpole St Peter was charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act at Peterborough Magistrates Court on 9 June.

    The RSPCA and World Horse Welfare were called out to the horses in July 2014 after concerns were raised about their welfare.

    The rugs had not been removed for some time despite the baking 30 degree heat. The horses were also living in a field surrounded by dangerous “trip wire”.

    World Horse Welfare field officer Jacko Jackson compared leaving the horses in heavy rug on a summer’s day to leaving dogs in a hot car.

    A bay mare, Roxy, was also found to be very lame due to an old, untreated leg injury. She was later put down.

    The other two horses, a bay mare called Tess and a bay gelding called Oscar, were rescued.

    “Many people would assume at first glance that horses wearing rugs are being well cared for, but thankfully in this instance the caller to our welfare line realised it was completely inappropriate for the time of year and noticed the horses’ obvious distress,” said Mr Jackson.

    RSPCA inspector Dean Astillberry said the horses “were very lethargic, breathing heavily and in clear discomfort.”

    The horses “transformed” as soon as they reached the RSPCA’s rescue centre.

    “This was a case when the owner just wouldn’t listen to any advice about how to care for his horses and as a consequence they were put in danger, with their welfare compromised,” added Mr Astillberry.

    Fisk was found guilty on two counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one count of being likely to cause suffering to the horses in his care.

    As well as the three-year ban he was given a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £750 costs.

    The district judge said: “Mr Fisk’s administering of herbal remedies to Roxy’s leg was inadequate and a man with as many years’ experience in equine care as he had should have realised the seriousness of the injury many months ago.

    “There is clear evidence that the type of rugs used during hot weather were not only unnecessary but caused significant suffering to the horses.”

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