Four horses were found emaciated with skin infections, standing in a muddy field, having been left for around four months with little to eat.
RSPCA inspectors claimed the horses were among the most ‘serious’ cases of neglect they had encountered. After being called to assess the horses in a paddock in Halesowen by concerned passers by, an inspector found one was so weak it had to lean against him for support.
And now their owner is behind bars – and ordered not to have another animal for at least 20 years.
Father-of-two Dean Young, aged 34, of Hilton Road, Tividale, Oldbury, wept as he was jailed for five months at Dudley Magistrates Court. But chairman of the bench, Mrs Jayne Pearson, told him: “We consider this to be a case of severe animal neglect.”
Mr Nick Sutton, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the charity was alerted by two women who spotted the suffering horses in an acre-sized paddock off Manor Way.
He said RSPCA Inspector Paul Seddon found six horses on the plot which he claimed was ‘wholly inadequate’ as one horse should have around an acre-and-a-half each of land on which to graze.
A large bale of hay was found in the field but Mr Sutton said it was still inside its black plastic wrapping with no evidence it had been spread out to allow the animals to feed. Four out of the six animals were found to be in a poor condition. One of the animals was a chestnut-coloured mare called Patience who was so thin its ribs were visible, the court heard.
Reading the inspector’s report, Mr Sutton said: “When I examined the animal closely it leaned on me and stumbled when walking. I thought it was near to collapse.”
Mr Sutton said the horses were found with hoof nails that had not been trimmed for up to six months. Mr Sutton said there were also signs the animals had developed skin conditions known as rainscold and mudfever, which develop after prolonged exposure to damp conditions.
Young pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals between January 30 and April 24 last year. He pleaded guilty on the basis he accepted responsibility for three of the horses’ plight but not the fourth, Rambo, which he said belonged to a friend.
In interview, Mr Sutton said Young told RSPCA inspectors the horses had not seen a vet for a year. All four horses were taken from the field and have since recovered.
Mr Harbinder Gahir, defending, said Young had been given the horses by a friend and he subsequently gave them as a present to his daughter to ride. He said: “This is an individual who had no real incite into horses. He took these horses on for his child.”
After being jailed, Mr Gahir notified the court that Young will be considering appealing his sentence.