Lincolnshire man sentenced for starving ponies

A 24-year-old man has been given a nine month community order and a five year ban on keeping any animal after being prosecuted by the RSPCA for starving ponies. Nick Hayes was also ordered by Spalding Magistrates' Court in Lincolnshire to pay £250 contribution to court costs.

After receiving separate calls from a member of the public regarding three dead ponies on a site in early February, both Trading Standards and World Horse Welfare investigated and found one dead pony, and two emaciated ponies clinging to life. A bay mare Elle May and a grey gelding Nico were removed. Both were in very poor bodily condition with ribs, hips and spine clearly visible. They were being kept in Lincolnshire. World Horse Welfare Chief Field Officer David Boyd was shocked to find the carcass of the dead pony in the stable next to Elle May.

Both horses were signed over to World Horse Welfare and taken to their Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre on February 9. Elle May weighed 218 kilograms and was 13hh. She was around 100 kg underweight. Nico weighed 143 kg and was 11.2hh when he was brought for urgent care to World Horse Welfare. Now Nico weighs around 260kg.“Two days after Nico came to Hall Farm, he collapsed because he was so poorly,” Lizzie Hunt, World Horse Welfare Hall Farm Yard Supervisor said. “It was touch and go for him for a while. By February 20, the vet was still treating him and he was very unwell. Thankfully by the end of February he had picked up and was looking stronger.”

“You can see the dramatic change in the body shape and condition of both ponies,” said David. “Both had a body fat score of 0.5, whereas the ideal is 3. Both ponies were suffering and were underweight and very dehydrated when I inspected them.”

“In the arrival photo, Elle May’s fluffy winter coat is hiding her very apparent ribs. It is deceptive, as when she arrived you could clearly feel every rib,” continued Lizzie. “They must have been really starved to have lost so much weight and been so poor, as now they tend to hold their weight so well and are such good doers that we have to control their diets very carefully so that they don’t become overweight.New homes will be sought for the two ponies when they are healthy enough to leave the farm.

“Nico has poor conformation so will be rehomed as a companion pony. Elle May may be able to go on for ridden work, but for now is continuing her rehabilitation,” said Lizzie.

Elle May on arrival Credit: World Horse Welfare
Elle May now Credit: World Horse Welfare
Nico on arrival Credit: World Horse Welfare
Nico now Credit: World Horse Welfare