A man from Leeds has been jailed and banned from keeping horses after working a pony to the point of exhaustion.
Robert Michael Hunter, 34, of Scott Hall Road appeared before Carlisle Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after having pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
There were two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the pony, called Little Ginger, by firstly failing to provide routine dentistry and secondly, overworking him and a third of failing to meet his needs by failing to provide routine dentistry and worming.
The offences were said to date between June 7, 2016 and June 2018 and the horse was found at the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria in June last year.
Hunter was sentenced to 90 days in prison and disqualified from keeping equines for six years, suspended for six months to give time to sell or rehome his horses. He was also deprived of Little Ginger. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
After the hearing the RSPCA said the gelding cob was suffering hyperthermia and dehydration and needed immediate treatment from a vet.
Lyndsey Taylor said: “Little Ginger was found to be severely exhausted, suffering from hyperthermia and dehydration as a result of being overworked and needed immediate veterinary treatment.
“He was very dull with his head held low and barely responding. He was standing but didn’t want to move. Vets said his temperature and breathing rate were both severely raised and his heart rate was dangerously increased. He was put on a drip and given drugs to help bring the hyperthermia under control but it took him hours to recover.
“If the owner had carried on working this pony he probably would have collapsed. On top of that, when vets examined him further they found he had trauma to the inside of both cheeks due to his teeth not being rasped.”
The court heard in mitigation that Hunter respects the work of the RSPCA and had only run Little Ginger up and down the hill once. With regards to the horse's teeth, Hunter said he was overweight so wasn’t struggling to eat or showing any difficulties with his bit.
Little Ginger has since been taken into the care of World Horse Welfare and they will now be able to prepare him for adoption.
Yard Supervisor, Karen Wright, said: “Ginger is doing really well and has thrived through his rehabilitation. He’s a lovely character who gets on well with his equine and human companions and loves nothing more than grazing out in the field. He’s very happy go lucky and has great potential as a riding or driving pony in the future.”