Ponies kept in most shocking conditions vet had ever seen chewed off own tails
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A man who was already banned from keeping horses has been spared a jail sentence despite being convicted of the worst case of animal neglect one vet had ever seen.
The cruelty came to light when an animal welfare officer carried out an unannounced inspection of sheep being kept in fields in the Drefach Felindre area, near the town of Newcastle Emlyn in Carmarthenshire.
The officer noticed a shed covered with wood pallets and tarpaulin and saw two ponies standing inside in their own faeces, reports Wales Online.
Further inspection revealed the cob-type ponies to be standing in waist-high soiled bedding with their hooves badly overgrown and with tails so short that the officer believed the desperately frustrated and unhappy animals may have eaten themselves.
The animals had nothing to eat, while one had a bucket of water which contained faeces. They were also kept in the dark in a position where they were unable to look out of the shed.
When David Robert Davies, of Maes Dilen, Pentrecwrt, arrived at the scene of the inspection, which took place in February, 2020, he claimed that the ponies were not his and that they in fact belonged to the owner of the field they were kept in.
He then tried to claim that they actually belonged to his step-daughter, with whom he had no contact.
The animal welfare officer returned to the field over the following days and, according to Carmarthenshire Council, it was only when the ponies were brought into the daylight that their true condition became evident.
A vet visited the site and said it was the “worst case of neglect seen in 40 years of practice”.
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Both ponies were taken away for treatment but days later they had to be put down, with the vet saying that both had been suffering for at least a year.
Carmarthenshire Council instigated an investigation and found that Davies, aged 62, was already disqualified from owning, keeping or participating in the keeping of horses for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA in 2015.
During an interview he maintained that the ponies were not his, and that they were in fact owned by his estranged step-daughter, who the council eventually managed to contact. She denied having any knowledge of the ponies in the shed, as did the landowner.
Appearing at Llanelli Magistrates Court earlier this month, Davies pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to two horses and breaching a disqualification order in respect of horses.
He admitted that, although he didn’t own the ponies, he did have knowledge of their suffering and failed to get them veterinary help, something he blamed on health problems and the fact that he acted as his partner’s sole carer and as the main educator of his two children.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and was handed a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation. He was also ordered to pay costs of £6,367 and a victim surcharge of £122.
Carmarthenshire Council said following the conviction that the ponies might still be suffering to this day if they had not been spotted by the welfare officer.
“If it were not for the actions of our animal health officer, who acted on a hunch to check the shed, these ponies may still be suffering today,” said Philip Hughes, the council’s cabinet member for public protection.
"This is an awful, and entirely avoidable, case of shocking neglect.”
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