A man from Sunderland has been disqualified from keeping equines for five years after allowing a horse to suffer with a maggot-infested wound.
Glenn Foot (D.O.B 05.11.87) of Marley Crescent appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Wednesday 27 February).
He was convicted of (1.) causing unnecessary suffering to the horse, called Raspy, (2.) failing to meet the horse’s needs and (3.) obstructing a police officer under the Animal Welfare Act 2006* in his absence last month (9 Jan).
The RSPCA attended a grassy area off Wembley Road in Sunderland on 29 August last year after concerns were raised for a tethered horse. One of the callers described the horse as having a ‘tar-like substance’ on his head and being surrounded by flies.
RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “When I approached Raspy, I could see hundreds of flies surrounding him and was very concerned.
“There was a horrendous smell of infection. I could see the tar-like substance that had been mentioned and it appeared to be dried blood. I thought immediately that the horse may have an embedded head collar.”
Inspector Proctor called a vet who discovered Raspy was wearing not one but two head collars which were embedded into his skin.
She added: “The wound appeared a couple of inches deep, it looked like the horse had been sliced. It was absolutely shocking.
“The smell coming from the collars was horrendous and I quickly noticed hundreds of fly eggs, alongside live maggots, crawling around inside them.”
Several more people arrived at the scene and when the horse was taken into possession by police for removal into RSPCA care the horse was ridden away with Raspy’s owner, Foot, holding his lead rope. Efforts to find Raspy were unsuccessful.
In mitigation the court heard that Foot was preoccupied with the opportunity of a lifetime to win the commonwealth boxing championship at the time.
As well as the disqualification, he was also sentenced to an 18-month community order with 300 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay costs of £400 and an £85 victim surcharge.
PC Peter Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers so it is never nice to deal with cases like this that involves unnecessary suffering and pain.
“The horse suffered a deep cut from his head collar, but when confronted by police and the RSPCA, the owner refused to cooperate and would not disclose the location of the injured animal.
“I am pleased that Glenn Foot had his day in court, and I hope this prosecution sends a message to owners that they are responsible for looking after their animals and ensuring they are protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
“Anybody who fails to ensure an animal’s welfare needs are adequately met could face criminal action.
“We would always ask anybody who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress to contact the RSPCA direct or call 101.”
*Foot was convicted of:
1. Between 22 August 2018 and 29 August 2018 in the vicinity of Wembley Road, Sunderland, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a skewbald stallion known as Raspy, by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and attention for a wound to its neck which you knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause the said animal to suffer unnecessarily, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
2. On and before 29 August 2018 in the vicinity of Wembley Road, Sunderland, you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which you were responsible, namely a skewbald stallion known as Raspy, were met to the extent required by good practice in that you failed to protect it from pain, suffering, injury and disease by not ensuring it was appropriately tethered, contrary to Section 9(1)(e) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
3. On 29 August 2018 in the vicinity of Wembley Road, Sunderland, you did intentionally obstruct persons, namely a police officer and an RSPCA inspector, in the exercise of a power conferred by Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 by removing a skewbald stallion known as Raspy from the above location after it had been taken into possession, contrary to Section 18(12) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.