A MAN has been handed a suspended jail sentence after four horses were found with maggot-infested wounds and fractures so serious they could not all be saved.
John Pybus, 56, caused unnecessary suffering to four horses who were all underfed and in need of urgent veterinary care.
The RSPCA and the World Horse Welfare organisation attended Pybus’s address in August last year after receiving a call from a member of the public worried about two horses.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Mark Gent said: “The grey horse, Dimitri, had a wound to his right shoulder that was maggot-infested. The area he was in had very limited grazing, no hay or supplementary food and the water available to him was green.
“Cliff, a bay, appeared to be very thin, with his ribs, hips and spine all visible and he appeared to be lethargic with his head hanging low.”
The two horses were seized by police and taken into the care of World Horse Welfare. It was discovered that Dimitri had fractured withers and was put to sleep on vet advice. Cliff remains with the charity.
World Horse Welfare field officer Sarah Tucker said: “Wherever possible we will always try to work with horse owners to resolve problems in situ, but unfortunately Pybus ignored the advice and guidance given to him.
"Dimitri was clearly in need of urgent medical attention for his painful wound and both horses were in very poor condition - even though there was a barn full of hay at the premises.
“Thankfully, we were able to remove both Dimitri and Cliff to safety and give them both the dedicated care and veterinary treatment they needed.
"Dimitri was found to be suffering fractured withers which could not be treated so the difficult decision was made to put him to sleep but thankfully Cliff is flourishing in our care and will be looking for a new home soon.”
There was a barnful of hay at the stables, but Pybus, of Grewgrass Lane, Redcar, neglected to feed his animals and in December, RSPCA inspectors returned to find a horse collapsed.
Chief Inspector Gent said: “A chestnut gelding called Jango was found down and gasping for breath when the inspector arrived.
“He was very thin and his ribs, hips and spine were all visible.
“He had a bandage on his front foreleg, and when the bandage was removed there was a wound which was very smelly, soft to touch and was oozing with puss. He also had numerous patches of rain scald that were red in colour. Pybus said the horse had become ill quickly and he was planning to get a vet out to him.
“Jango was seen by a vet at the scene and they advised that he should be put to sleep to prevent him suffering any further.”
A five-year-old chestnut gelding horse called Tizer was in another stable at the site. He was also thin with his spine and hips visible. He and two other horses, who there were no welfare concerns regarding, were signed over to the RSPCA and removed. They remain in RSPCA care whilst they are being prepared for rehoming. A further horse was signed over at sentencing who is being assessed.
Pybus pleaded guilty to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to Cliff, Dimitri, Jango and Tizer, between July 30 and December 27, 2018. In mitigation, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard someone else owned the animals, but no evidence of this could be found.
Pybus was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and 12-month community order. He must pay £915 in costs. Pybus is banned from keeping all animals except dogs for ten years.