A man from Blackburn who used to show and breed ponies has been given a suspended jail sentence and lifetime disqualification from keeping equines.
Richard James Riding from Great Harwood was sentenced at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court last week after pleading guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act related to a number of Welsh Section A ponies.
The ponies, who were discovered by the RSPCA, had overgrown hooves and needed veterinary attention. One even had a wound that was crawling with maggots.
When the RSPCA attended Riding’s property on 15 June, a 15-year-old grey stallion called ‘Tiddles’ was found to be suffering to such a degree he had to be put to sleep immediately.
RSPCA inspector Lyndsey Taylor said: “Tiddles had a large open wound on his side, which was crawling with maggots.
“His genitals were infected and he had sores in his mouth and nose and overgrown hooves. He really was in a shocking condition.”
Two grey mares, 10-year-old Cara and four-year-old Sapphire, also had overgrown hooves. They and another grey mare, four-year-old Sparkle, and her foal who had been born in January, were all signed over on the day and placed in the care of World Horse Welfare.
RSPCA inspector Taylor said: “Ridings told us that he used to show and breed the ponies as a hobby - having as many as 22 at one point - but gave up in 2010, though a couple were born unintentionally after that.
“Having sold all the others, he said he had arranged for these final five to be slaughtered in March but no date was ever set, just when the knackerman had time.
"He called again on the day we visited and was told there was a six week wait.
“He told us Tiddles had been kicked by another horse in October and it got a bit better but some swelling remained, then in May it burst and he treated it with Terramycin spray every other day for a fortnight.
"He said it seemed to dry up and he thought that was that until he looked at Tiddles with us.
“It would seem that he had lost any interest at all in these ponies, giving them hardly any more than a glance at over a gate to check on their welfare.
“You cannot adequately care for animals in this way and very sadly they suffered as a result.”
Riding was sentenced to 12 weeks jail suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £100 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
In mitigation, the court heard that he regretted what had happened.
Sadly, Cara and Sapphire were put to sleep as they had Cushings Disease and were very afraid of human contact.
Sparkle and her foal, who has been named ‘Pearl’, are doing well in the care of World Horse Welfare.
Pearl is already up for rehoming and it’s hoped Sparkle will be rehomed in due course.
Find out more about Pearl http://rehoming.worldhorsewelfare.org/