A British horse trader has been sentenced to 23 weeks in jail for inflicting what a prosecutor described as immense cruelty on horses.
Hereford Magistrates’ Court heard how police visited two locations in Bromyard, Herefordshire, and Bringsty, Worcestershire, in July 2012, where 46-year-old Mark Hall kept his animals.
At the two premises officers and a veterinarian found several horses and ponies, 18 of whom were emaciated. They were immediately removed and taken to a horse sanctuary.
Two of the horses had to be put down owing to the injuries and ill-health caused by Hall’s neglect.
Hall pleaded guilty on Wednesday to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals and three counts of failing to ensure the welfare of animals.
An order was also made depriving him of the seized horses. He was disqualified from dealing in horses, sheep, cattle or pigs, or from transporting or owning them, for 15 years, with a minimum period of 10 years before he can apply to lift the bans.
He was ordered to reimburse the Bransby Rest Home for Horses £13,571.51 for veterinary fees and to pay prosecution costs of £1800.
Owen Beale, a senior Crown prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Mark Hall inflicted immense cruelty and unnecessary suffering to animals to which he owed a duty of care.
“When officers arrived at his premises they found an assortment of horses and ponies housed in a variety of shelters, but there was no evidence of any water, horse feed or access for the animals to graze.
“One of the horses was suffering from an untreated injury and was in such poor health that a vet recommended immediate euthanasia on humane grounds.
“Another horse collapsed the day after it was taken to a horse sanctuary and had to be put down. The remaining 16 horses and ponies were seized and taken to the sanctuary where I am pleased to say they have been nursed back to health.
“When arrested, Hall maintained a defence that the animals suffered from a respiratory infection and salmonella, but there was no evidence that he administered any drugs or sought any medical help for them.
“The CPS will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure that those who inflict such cruelty to animals are prosecuted robustly.”