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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Equine Obesity: A Criminal Offense for Two Pony Owners in England

by Fran Jurga | 14 October 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Pony stallion Dale, before (top) and after (lower) his rehabilitation by World Horse Welfare.

A married couple in Lancashire, England have been banned from keeping horses for five years in one of the first court cases in Britain since a new animal welfare law has been enacted. The two were found guilty of causing suffering by not addressing their ponies' obesity and hoofcare issues.

Keith and Lynn Hall pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a 21 year old mare called April and failing to meet the needs of a 12 year old stallion called Dale. They were also given costs of £500 each and a three month curfew was imposed, enforcing them to be resident at their home between the hours of 10pm and 6am. They indicated their immediate intention to appeal their five year ban.

When World Horse Welfare and RSPCA officials visited the couple’s rented field in November 2008, they found that April’s feet had not been trimmed for a very long time and she was lame and in terrible pain. Her companion Dale had been allowed to become grossly overweight.

Both ponies were seized and taken to a World Horse Welfare farm where they immediately received the care they needed. Dale was put on a strict diet and exercise program and has recovered well but sadly April did not respond to treatment and the difficult decision was made to put her to sleep and end her suffering.

World Horse Welfare Field Officer Chris Williamson says: “This is one of the first cases under the new Animal Welfare Act involving an obese horse and I am pleased that the serious welfare implications of allowing a horse to get into this condition were taken into account in the sentence.”

Please visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org for more information. World Horse Welfare provided background and photos for this blog post.

Blogger's comment: Is it possible that the owners were trying to make the ponies look like Thelwell's cartoon characters? Are there people who believe that ponies are supposed to be fat, cresty-necked and lame?

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.