Fine, lifetime animal ban over neglect of two ponies

Neeps, one of the shetland ponies at the centre of the Aberdeenshire welfare case.
Neeps, one of the shetland ponies at the centre of the Aberdeenshire welfare case.

A man in Scotland has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting two of his horses which had some of the worst feet World Horse Welfare has ever seen.

Keith Ritchie, 65, of Mastrick, Aberdeen, pleaded guilty last Wednesday in Aberdeen Sheriff Court to an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act of failing to provide the necessary veterinary attention to his two Shetland ponies, called Haggis and Neeps.

The conviction follow a Scottish SPCA investigation.

Ritchie was banned from keeping all animals for life and fined £750.

The court heard how on July 30 last year a concerned member of the public contacted World Horse Welfare after seeing the Shetland stallions grazing on a huge area of grassland near Aberdeen.

Field officer Doug Howie visited the site and found that the ponies had access to 60 acres of grazing.

The black Shetland, Neeps, was severely overweight and had long feet, and the chestnut pony, Haggis, was overweight and lame with long feet.

The pair were signed over into the care of World Horse Welfare and arrived at Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on August 5, 2010.

“These ponies’ feet were amongst the worst I have ever seen but poor feet are unfortunately becoming an all too common problem,” Howie said.

“Their feet had clearly been neglected for many months, perhaps even years, causing a great deal of pain and suffering. I am satisfied with the result as it means Mr Ritchie won’t be able to inflict this kind of misery onto other animals again.”

Belwade Farm Assistant Manager Caroline Heard said seeing the ponies was a shock: “They were overweight and the length of their feet was unbelievable as Haggis could not stand still as he was literally on rockers behind.

“There had obviously been no attempt at managing these ponies and they undoubtedly suffered from this neglect. The good news is that we were able to provide the proper care that Haggis and Neeps deserved at Belwade Farm and they have never suffered another laminitic attack.”

Haggis and Neeps successfully completed their rehabilitation at Belwade Farm and have been rehomed.




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