British horse whisperer convicted over care of horses

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One of the horses involved in the Somerset case. Photo: RSPCA
One of the horses involved in the Somerset case. Photo: RSPCA

A British man who operated as a horse whisperer and ran a rescue has been convicted of three counts of cruelty involving his own herd.

Raymond Sparks-Clark, 43, of North Lane, Otherey, in Somerset, was sentenced last week in Taunton Deane Magistrates’ Court after a four-day trial. He was found guilty and banned from owning horses for four years, as well as being given a two-year conditional discharge. He was ordered to pay costs of £400.

The RSPCA were called to the field where Sparks-Clark kept his horses on February 14 last year. The investigating inspector found neglect across a number of horses in the herd. The horses were said to be starving, thin, covered in lice and frightened.

A vet was called and due to the level of suffering the decision was made to remove three of the horses.

One of the horses, Pria, was so thin and unsteady on her feet that the inspector feared she would collapse.

Less than a month later, the RSPCA received another complaint and visited the same field to find that more of Sparks-Clark’s horses were at risk, one of which, a grey mare called Lady, was found so emaciated and suffering with rain scald and an untreated leg injury that she was immediately removed on veterinary advice.

RSPCA inspector Marie Griffiths said: “When you take on the big responsibility of setting up a rescue or starting a business where animals are involved, a passion for animals as well as extensive knowledge of those animals, the law, and secure finances are the key to making things work.

“Sadly in this case, despite many warnings and advice from the RSPCA and other official organisations, the defendant continued to fail to meet the basic needs of the animals in his care.

“People that are struggling must always ask for help as problems such as what was being experienced here just cannot be ignored.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and hope that this goes some way to educating people that animals like horses are a big responsibility and take a lot of time, effort, and money to care for. They are not a pet that should ever be taken on lightly.”

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