Gypsy cob breeder and serial fly-grazer Tom Price has been released from prison, but was straight back in court on new charges.
Price, 49, of Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, was jailed for eight months on 57 welfare and cruelty charges in June 2013. He was given a five-year ban on keeping horses, suspended for six months to enable him to disperse his herd of around 2,500 animals.
He was released from prison in November, but on 9 December pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court to failing to update 17 horse passports with his details.
The case relates to 17 horses bought by Price for £200 at Bridgwater sales in Somerset in 2011. They had been passported and microchipped and sent to the sales by Carmarthenshire Council, after straying on to roads.
But a year later, they were still registered as the council’s property.
“You know the rules. You told elaborate lies to disguise this offence,” said the judge, who ordered Price to pay a £6,000 fine plus £8,000 towards Vale of Glamorgan Council’s costs in bringing the prosecution.
Since the start of his prison sentence, equine charities have rescued dozens of horses that it is thought may belong to Price. But few have been passported or microchipped, making it difficult to prove ownership.
It is not known how many horses are still in his care.
The RSPCA’s Sophie Wilkinson told H&H: “The ban [on keeping equines] begins on 5 January, so he has until then to either sell or rehome the horses in his care.”
If Price continues to keep horses, he will be in breach of the ban and could be prosecuted again.
Tough new fly-grazing laws — in part prompted by the problems Price’s herd have caused in the Vale of Glamorgan — are due to become law in Wales in mid-January.