Couple prosecuted for allowing pony to become obese

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Dale the shetland pony stallion as he was found by welfare officers. He was grossly overweight.
Dale the shetland pony stallion as he was found by welfare officers. He was grossly overweight. Diet and exercise have helped Dale get back into shape. Diet and exercise have helped Dale get back into shape.

A British couple have been banned from keeping horses for five years after the charity World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA removed two Shetland ponies from their care, one of whom was grossly overweight.

Keith Hall, 60, and Lynn Hall, 56, from Cleveleys in Lancashire, appeared before Blackpool Magistrates Court this week, where they admitted 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.

World Horse Welfare field officer Chris Williamson and an RSPCA inspector visited the Hall’s rented field on Fleetwood Rd in Blackpool on November 4 last year and found that April’s feet had not been trimmed for a very long time. She was lame and in pain.

Her companion Dale had been allowed to become grossly overweight.

Both ponies were seized and taken to World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm in Blackpool, where they immediately received the care they needed.

Dale was put on a strict diet and exercise programme and has recovered well. April did not respond to treatment and the difficult decision was made to euthanize her.

“This is one of the first cases under the new Animal Welfare Act involving an obese horse,” Williams said. “I am pleased that the serious welfare implications of allowing a horse to get into this condition were taken into account in the sentence.”

The Halls were ordered to pay costs of £500 each and a three-month curfew was imposed, enforcing them to be resident at their home between 10pm and 6am.

They indicated their immediate intention to appeal their five-year ban.

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