A breeder has been banned from keeping horses for 10 years after pleading guilty to letting two of his animals die in a desolate field.
Steven Lee, 27, of Rosemary Lane, Bartle, near Preston, was ordered to carry out 100 hours community service and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 by magistrates in Blackpool this week after admitted charges of causing unnecessary suffering to horses at a previous hearing.
Two of Lee’s horses died in a snow covered field and two more had to be put down by a vet after Lee’s herd was removed from the field off Mythop Road, Marton, Blackpool, by animal welfare officers.
John Cunningham, World Horse Welfare’s field officer for the North West, was involved in the case and helped to bring the final six living horses to the charity’s Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Blackpool.
He said: “These horses, all young mares, were living in a field during the winter with no shelter, the weather was atrocious, it was snowing and they had very little to eat or drink.
“One small skewbald coloured horse was emaciated; she was matted with greenish discharge and in a really sorry state. The field was covered in foul smelling discharge from this mare’s bowels. She must have felt so uncomfortable and the smell and the boggy mess surrounding her were incredibly unpleasant, she was clearly very depressed as her head hung low to the ground.
“After examination from vets it became apparent that this young mare and three other horses were suffering from a severe parasite infestation. The parasite infestation was disrupting the horses’ guts from functioning properly and forcing the equines to endure severe diarrhoea.”
Prosecutors said Lee failed to provide adequate veterinary care and worming medication in order to protect his horses from pain and suffering.
Mr Cunningham said: “If Mr Lee would have spent just £18 to £20 per horse on worming treatment then these horses would have faced an entirely different outcome. Simple feed, coupled with low cost worming care would have kept 10 horses alive, not six.”