Man fined after Shetland ponies left to suffer

A Pembrokeshire man has been fined, after he left three Shetland ponies suffering.

Eric Gwilym Symmons from Letterston, Wales, admitted that his failure to act caused the Shetlands to suffer unnecessarily.

Mr Symmons failed to explore and address severely overgrown hooves on each of the Shetlands, with an RSPCA officer outlining how a simple "five-minute phone call" to a farrier could have prevented the ponies suffering.

Symmons pleaded guilty to Animal Welfare Act offences, and was sentenced at Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court yesterday. He was fined £535, told to pay £300 in costs and a £53 victim surcharge.

One of the ponies also suffered due to her physical condition, for which Symmons should have acted. Her weight was judged to be 141kg - which was more than 100kg below the average expected weight for a Shetland of her height.

Thankfully, the plight of the Shetlands had a happy ending - with all three animals signed into RSPCA Cymru care, before being successfully re-homed by the charity.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “We found three Shetlands at this property seriously impeded by overgrown hooves, and hidden from view. The suffering they endured is likely to have lasted many months.

“Put simply - there's no excuse for this sort of shocking neglect.

“A straightforward five-minute phone call to a farrier could have prevented these Shetland ponies from experiencing the pain and suffering of such dangerously overgrown hooves.

“This was long-term and completely unnecessary neglect, with one of the ponies also lame with a very poor physical body condition - and the RSPCA is steadfast in its commitment to acting against such animal cruelty.

“Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. RSPCA Cymru action meant these ponies were signed into our care, and have now been happily re-homed.”

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