A man from Aberdeenshire has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting two of his horses – Shetland ponies called Haggis and Neeps.
Haggis and Neeps’ long feet were reportedly some of the worst that horse charity World Horse Welfare had ever seen.
World Horse Welfare were contacted by a concerned member of the public in July 2010 after seeing the Shetland stallions grazing on a huge area of grassland near Aberdeen.
World Horse Welfare Field Officer Doug Howie visited the site and found the ponies had access to 60 acres of grazing.
The black Shetland – Neeps (pictured) – was severely overweight and had long feet.
The chestnut Shetland – Haggis – was overweight, lame, and also had long feet.
It was agreed that the ponies should be removed from the site and they were signed over into the care of World Horse Welfare, arriving at our Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on Thursday 5 August 2010.
Caroline Heard is Assistant Manager at Belwade Farm and says: “Just a glance at these ponies was an instant 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.”
Keith Ritchie, 65, of Maidencraig Place, Mastrick, Aberdeen, pleaded guilty on Wednesday 20 June to one offence under the Animal Health and Wealfare (Scotland) Act for failing to provide the necessary veterinary attention to his two Shetland ponies.
The conviction, to which Ritchie pleaded guilty on Wednesday 20 June 2012, comes following a Scottish SPCA investigation. Ritchie was sentenced at court and banned from keeping all animals for life and fined £750.
Doug Howie commented on the case by saying: “These ponies’ feet were amongst the worst I have ever seen but poor feet are unfortunately becoming an all too common problem. 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.”
Haggis and Neeps successfully completed their rehabilitation at Belwade Farm and have been rehomed into loving new homes.
For more information about World Horse Welfare and the work that they do, please head over to the World Horse Welfare website.