Life ban over pony care, except for dogs

Smudge's owned faces
Smudge's owner has been banned from keeping animals, but is allowed up to 40 dogs.

A woman whose pony was put down over its badly overgrown feet has received a life ban on keeping animals – except for up to 40 dogs.

The Fife woman admitted causing a pony unnecessary suffering, following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

Martha Balmain, 70, of  Thornton, was convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Tuesday. She was fined £600 and disqualified from keeping animals.

However, the Sheriff made an exception to allow Balmain, who breeds and owns about 40 dogs, to keep dogs – up to a maximum of 40 at any one time.

Balmain failed to provide veterinary treatment for a 10-year-old Shetland pony called Smudge, whose feet were so horrendously overgrown that he had developed a severe pedal bone rotation, which was causing him extensive mobility problems.

The possibility of Smudge making a full recovery was nil, so the decision was taken by an equine veterinarian to end his suffering and alleviate any further distress.

Smudge was suffering from severe pedal bone rotation.
Smudge was suffering from severe pedal bone rotation.

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We welcome the life ban that has been imposed on Balmain for this offence.

“However, we are disappointed that the ban does not extend to all animals as, in our opinion, Balmain has demonstrated that she is unfit to keep any animal through her failure to provide any sort of veterinary treatment for the pony that suffered so tragically in her care.”






Smudge the pony
Smudge the pony


One thought on “Life ban over pony care, except for dogs

  • May 24, 2012 at 2:51 am

    What a shocking case! And heart breaking that the pony had to be put down at only 10 years of age when he should be in his prime. I wonder what condition the 40 dogs are in?


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