A south Wales man was
A south Wales man was today (14 June) found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of 27 horses. The verdict came a month after his two sons admitted offences relating to the same group of equines.
Thomas Tony Price (3/6/64) of Glan Y Mor Lane, Wick, Vale of Glamorgan was found guilty of a total of 57 offences at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court.
His eldest son Thomas Hope Price (25/7/86) of Rover Way, Cardiff pleaded guilty to 42 charges, including causing unnecessary suffering to 18 horses, at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on 8 May. The remaining charges involved failing to meet the welfare needs of these and a further nine horses by either failing to address their weight loss, protect them from injury, pain or disease or failing to ensure they had clean and hazard-free environments with dry lying areas.
A second son, Tony John Price (23/5/94) also of Rover Way, Cardiff, admitted failing to meet the welfare needs of a piebald cob colt by failing to explore and address his weight loss and failing to meet the welfare needs of a piebald filly on 8 May.*
Price Senior was the director of a business known as Glamorgan Horse Traders and Thomas Price was listed as secretary of the same business which deals in horses across the UK, Europe and America.
The offences related to 27 Gypsy cob type ponies which were removed from five different locations across the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend between February and March 2012.
Sixteen of the horses were chipped and further investigations identified a link to Thomas Price Senior. Twelve of the horses were found locked in a barn with no space or access to food or water. They were very underweight and suffering from various untreated conditions.
The Prices are thought to own around 2,500 horses which are kept at various locations throughout Wales and the west of England. The RSPCA and other charities had previously advised them to keep the numbers down and manage breeding as they couldn’t guarantee the care arrangements of most of the animals and, since around 2011, problems developed with stray horses and ‘fly grazing’ in the Glamorgan area.
Price Senior maintained that he had relinquished ownership of his horses to Thomas in January 2012. However, in separate civil proceedings, in which he is claiming compensation for 33 horses he produced a bill of sale which was dated after he apparently transferred ownership to his son.
RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil said: “These horses turned out to be the most poorly and diseased horses I have come across. It is my belief that the 12 in the barn had been left there to die.
“These horses were suffering but there are hundreds of other horses across Wales and England which may not be suffering but are just being left to illegally graze and indiscriminately breed. It really is a massive problem that we struggle to deal with day after day.
“We worked closely with Bridgend County Council throughout this case and their assistance was pivotal in securing today’s result.”
The case highlights the enormous problems faced by welfare charities and the government, with irresponsible horse ownership across Wales and England. The RSPCA received 25,972 equine-related complaints in 2012. In the first five months of this year, 12,210 complaints had already been received.
World Horse Welfare investigated 22 per cent more horse-related complaints in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 2012, and The British Horse Society (BHS) has seen welfare complaints increase by 50 per cent for the same period.
The figures are launched in the report, ‘On the Verge – in the grip of a continuing equine crisis’, which has just been released. The report reveals that the number of horses deemed at risk of needing rescue or new homes is now around 7,000 – a rise of 1,000 in just six months.
The RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, Redwings, HorseWorld, The BHS and Blue Cross are working closely with local authorities, the Welsh Government and police to deal with the issue of irresponsible breeding and ownership in the area. The RSPCA admitted 760 equines to its care in 2012, the vast majority of which are cared for in private facilities at an average cost of £15 per animal per day as we have just 120 spaces in our own equine centres. World Horse Welfare admitted 40% more horses from January to March this year compared to the same period in 2012.
Redwings and Blue Cross have been working at capacity, with Redwings having 1,300 horses in their care and still finding room for the extra 100 they have taken in this year. The BHS has reported a significant rise in welfare complaints.
“The welfare charities simply do not have the resources to take in all of these poorly treated horses and pick up the pieces from indiscriminate breeding. We need tougher laws that can give authorities power to address aggressive and cruel fly grazing and make owners accountable for their animals,” said Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare.
What the Government can do:
Amend the current Animals Act to give land owners and local authorities more scope to act quickly to address fly grazing. Wales is currently undertaking a consultation on ways to tackle fly grazing.
Introduce criminal legislation to penalise aggressive fly grazers and act as a deterrent.
As part of the review of the current horse passport laws, require mandatory microchipping of all horses to better link them to owners to improve accountability. Enforce these laws robustly in problem areas, and move the burden of proof of ownership from the authorities to the owner.
Increased intelligence-led enforcement of horse imports and exports
Encourage responsible breeding through guidance and the facts on the unprofitability of the lower end of the horse market, as well as advice on when not to breed from unhealthy horses
What the public can do to help:
The horse owning public can respond to this crisis and play an important part in rehoming horses and ponies, or by supporting horse welfare charities
If you are a horse owner or know one who needs help, please contact the RSPCA (0300 123 4999) or one of the horse welfare charities for advice before the situation escalates into a welfare problem
Sentencing has been adjourned for pre-sentence reports.
Shaun and his partner Toni Smith sadly lost their beloved 20-year-old Irish Draught, Bailey, in March of this year. He was a much-loved part of their family for nine years, with only one flaw; he absolutely hated to travel anywhere. This meant that Toni and Shaun were unable to take him to any shows or events; but on a more serious note it also meant that if he ever became sick, they would have a serious problem. That was, until they found out that nearby Redwings Horse Sanctuary had an itinerant horse handler called Mark Hudson, who could come and visit them at their home to work through the problem.
The tiny pony, who is thought to be between three and four months old, was found roaming the streets of Diss in Norfolk by a local family at the end of May. They moved her to safety by placing her in their back garden until the authorities could arrive to collect her, and even gave her a parasol to use as a shelter. They named the pony ‘Lottie’. She was severely underweight, weighing just 49kgs, and was suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration.
No owner could be located for her, and Lottie was taken to the Redwings Reception Centre in Norfolk to receive immediate treatment from the charity’s team of vets. She has now been signed over to Redwings by the RSPCA. It is suspected that she was deliberately abandoned.
RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Craig Plumley said: “This little pony was probably abandoned because her irresponsible owners did not want to pay for vet treatment to get her better. It is cruel and heartless and we would still like to hear from anyone who knows where she came from and who owned her. Anyone with any information should call us on 0300 1234 999.”
Redwings Senior Field Officer Julie Harding said: “Poor little Lottie had a body condition score of just 0.5 when she was found, who knows how long she had been left to her own devices? It is unbelievable to think that someone could heartlessly abandon such a young pony like this. We are just so glad she was found when she was – huge thanks go to the family who took her in and protected her, it’s no exaggeration to say that you may well have saved her life.”
Over the past year Redwings – the largest horse sanctuary in the UK – has been working with other animal welfare charities including the RSPCA to highlight the increasing problem of equine abandonments in England and Wales. The Redwings welfare team has seen the numbers of abandoned horses being reported to it rise exponentially over the last few years, from 160 in 2009, to 768 in 2012. To find out more about the horse crisis or how you can help improve the lives of equines across the UK, download the charities’ report ‘Left on the Verge’ from www.redwings.org.uk or telephone 01508 481008.
Twelve riders took part and received a shared lesson with former international rider and UK Coach Of The Year Susie Gibson and received dietary and an individual equine assessment for body fitness and condition scoring advice from Amanda Flowers, product manager and nutritionist expert from Carr Day & Martin.
Riders came from all disciplines and included the showjumping/showing enthusiasts, happy hackers, and the serious HOYS contender. Participants received one to one instruction using Susie’s magic essence ‘suppleness, straightness, stride and speed’.
Susie is a talented rider and Five Star Coach holding a UKCC level 3 sports coaching qualification. She is extremely dedicated and works hard to promote training at all levels she is the Lead Coach for the Junior Academy and also coaches the North Region Foundation Squad.
Susie’s coaching skills are pretty unique and she can improve rider technique allowing them to adopt a structured sympathetic training system to achieve a successful partnership between horse and rider. Riders received top tips and tuition proving to be the essential ingredient to transform them into winning combinations.
Anne Carter and her horse Oscar went on to compete in a local dressage competition, gaining their highest score ever! Showjumping pair, Nicola Fairhust and her magnificent horse Tia, went on to produce four faultless rounds, winning both classes at Northcote Stud the following weekend!
HAPPA pony Chico, and his groom Joanne Anderson, were given valuable instruction in preparation for their forthcoming Equifest Challenge, where they are competing in the rescue section sponsored by the RSPCA. Joanne learnt to shorten and lengthen Chico’s stride and is delighted with his progress. ‘We both learned to understand each other and now he listens much more carefully to my commands’.
With Susie transforming each horse and rider partnership and Amanda on hand to answer questions concerning equine health and practical feeding advice relating to competition demands and daily requirements, HAPPA delivered a winning event that surpassed all expectations.
HAPPA supports training for all amateur riders, from dedicated competitors to happy hackers and promotes equine welfare through high standards of safety, welfare and tuition through continued professional and personal development. For more information on forthcoming equestrian events and activities at their Rescue Centre Shores Hey Centre, please Visit the HAPPA website www.happa.org.uk or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITOR
HAPPA, founded in 1937, is committed to equine welfare through rescue, rehabilitation, rehoming and education and uses a practical approach to deliver and promote high standards of equine care. HAPPA Inspectors investigate over 600 complaints of cruelty each year, offering advice and support where possible and prosecuting where necessary.
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies are currently taking applications for this programme, which will commence in September 2013. Interested students are encouraged to apply as places are limited and demand is extremely high.
Please click here for additional information regarding the course.
Coronation Street actress Kate Ford, who plays villain Tracy Barlow in the popular soap, visited Norfolk recently to officially open the brand new Redwings Visitor Centre at Aylsham. Nearly 1000 people came to meet her.
The award-winning actress has a strong connection to Redwings, aside from her own love of horses. Kate’s own pony Roxy was retired to Redwings Horse Sanctuary in 2004; the actress has always been a big fan of the charity’s work and has kept in contact with the team, even after Roxy sadly passed away. She agreed to be part of a special Fun Day at Aylsham on Saturday 27 April to help celebrate the new visitor centre’s opening.
Kate has played Tracy Barlow – the daughter of Deirdre and Ken with a complicated love life and history of selling her daughter, ruining wedding days, blackmail, murder and prison – since 2002. She’s the fourth actress to play Tracy Barlow since the character’s birth in 1977, and is arguably the most memorable.
“It was great to see so many people come to meet Kate and some of our fifty Aylsham residents,” commented Redwings Chief Executive Lynn Cutress. “934 people came which was an incredible turn-out; Kate was very generous with her time in not only cutting the ribbon for us but chatting with all the Coronation Street fans who came to meet her. She also met many of the horsey and donkey residents as well.” In total, the charity has over 1200 residents plus a further 500 in Guardian homes.
Kate commented that she enjoyed her visit to Redwings: “It was a lovely day which I really enjoyed; it was brilliant to see so many people come to support the work of Redwings!”
The Fun Day included the announcement of some new Adoption Club stars, pony grooming and a ‘walk and talk’ around the new site. A new Wildlife Walk that incorporates one of the two nature ponds on the site was also open. Visitors to the open day also got the chance to look at the new café, gift shop and information centre.
For more information, visit www.redwings.co.uk or call 0870 040 0033.
According to Redwings Horse Sanctuary, around 90% of laminitis cases are actually caused by one of two underlying conditions; and now the Sanctuary has produced a new set of laminitis leaflets to try and bust the myths surrounding this often-misunderstood and painful disease.
Research has shown that over 90% of cases of laminitis are actually caused by an already-present condition; either Equine Cushing’s Disease or Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Read more →
Available free from the British Equine Veterinary Association website (www.beva.org.uk), the ‘Checklist for Equine Health’ was developed by equine veterinary specialists, welfare charities and DEFRA. Its purpose is to cut through the reams of advice currently available and set out clearly the practical essentials of good horse care including nutrition, safety, vaccination, parasite control, disease prevention and transport.
“There has never been so much information out there on horse management, but it can be so difficult to know what to trust or whether you are covering all the bases. This simple guide, on one sheet of paper, can help guide your horse management routines,” said Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare and Chair of the Equine Disease Coalition, which produced the checklist.
The A3-size checklist was designed to be hung on a wall and can be read at a distance with its large type and easy to follow headings and suggested actions. Topics include:
•1. Arrivals – what to do before and after arrival of a new horse
•2. General – every day checks and maintenance your horse needs to stay healthy and safe
•3. Health – when to call a vet, what vaccinations are most appropriate and parasite control
•4. Disease – isolation and simple biosecurity measures you can take
•5. Transport – preparations you should make for transporting your horse safely
“So many horse owners think that biosecurity is a complicated and expensive issue. As a practising horse vet, I know that even the most simple actions can make all of the difference between health and illness, and we have designed this checklist to make it very simple for yards and horse owners to do the best for their horses,” said Ben Mayes, immediate past President of the British Equine Veterinary Association, who helped devise the checklist.
This spring, PONY Magazine launched its fantastic new PONY Academy. This innovative scheme rewards young people for learning about horses and ponies and their welfare. Every month in PONY several articles are marked with the PONY Academy symbol, encouraging readers to study the information on that page. Four times a year a PONY Academy paper is included that PONY Magazine students can fill in and send to the PONY offices to be marked. All successful candidates then receive a motivational PONY Academy certificate, and readers who achieve particularly high scores are recognised by a silver (merit) or gold (distinction) star on their certificates.
PONY Academy works on a simple idea: children want to learn, and they want to prove their knowledge. For many pony-mad kids, PONY Academy is the only opportunity to show off their specialist knowledge on a subject they feel passionate about. Additionally, for children who struggle at school, PONY Academy serves as a motivational tool to show that if they put their mind to something, they will be rewarded. PONY Magazine believes that through allowing young people an increased equestrian knowledge, they can properly care for horses and ponies to the highest standard. PONY Academy strives to increase animal welfare standards, alongside riding safety, and is proudly sponsored by the leading British manufacturer of riding helmets, Charles Owen.
Following its launch, PONY Academy received a staggering number of entrants from readers ranging from the ages of five to 15, demonstrating the huge demand for a scheme that teaches and rewards young equestrian enthusiasts. As PONY Academy certificates are graded, the scheme encourages readers not only to strive to achieve the best possible marks, but to maintain them.
The next PONY Academy paper will appear in the June issue of PONY Magazine, on sale May 16th, available from all major supermarkets and most newsagents. Individual issues can also be purchased (with free UK delivery) from the PONY online shop. To visit the PONY Magazine shop and website go to www.ponymag.com.
The foal was found by a member of the public on Friday (19th April) in a stretch of the River Lea in Essex. They alerted the RSPCA who attended immediately along with three appliances and 14 firefighters and officers from the London Fire Brigade who carried out a delicate operation to rescue him from the river. They named him Steve, but he was shivering so much that he has since become known as ‘Shaking Stephen’. The fire officers wrapped him in blankets to warm him up and he was then taken to the Galley Hill Equine Surgery in Waltham Abbey where the vets treated him for hypothermia and gave him the vital colostrum (early stage milk) that he may not have received from his mother.
Resident Vet Andrea Smith, said: “The river ran by a waterworks. We have no idea how he ended up there, but there was no sign of a broodmare, so we suspect that, sadly, he may have been put there. He is doing very well, considering. He’s a really sweet, healthy foal and we hope he’ll be able to go on and have a lovely happy life. He certainly deserves it, he’s an absolute delight.”
The surgery tried him with a surrogate mare, but when Stephen showed no real interest, they approached Redwings Horse Sanctuary to offer Stephen a home and continue with his hand rearing. He has this week arrived at the charity’s specialist horse hospital in Norfolk.
Senior Welfare Coordinator for Redwings, Rachel Angell, said: “More and more often we are seeing young colts like Stephen being deliberately abandoned as their value is so low and yet so many continue to be bred who are just not wanted. In Stephen’s case it is looking increasingly likely that this was deliberate as no owner has come forward. It is heart-breaking that anyone could do something so cruel. His rescue really was a case of teamwork and we’d like to thank everyone involved for bringing him this far. We will give him the best start in life we possibly can, and hopefully get him recover from his ordeal as soon as possible.”
Redwings is the largest horse sanctuary in the UK and currently cares for over 1300 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules at nine sites. The charity is entirely funded by public donation. To find out more or to donate towards Stephen’s care, please visit www.redwings.org.uk