Heysham man who left pony with bridle strapped so tight it embedded in the skin of his jaw admits causing suffering to two horses

A suffering horse was left with part of a bridle embedded in its skin after his owner failed to act to loosen it.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 9:44 am

Daniel Brockhill, 51, of Robin Crescent, Heysham, near Lancaster, admits two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The first animal, a dark brown cob mare, was left with a ‘stinking open wound’ caused by the tight bridle rubbing him, as well as a small cut to his nose, and areas of fur missing on the face.

The second animal, a black and white piebald cob mare, was spotted wandering in the field “aimlessly” in a dull and depressed state, the court was told.

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The horse's bridle had embedded in its skin CREDIT: RSPCA

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard the weak and malnourished pony was not very responsive, had an elevated heartbeat and temperature, with lice and eggs that had been present for at least 10 days, and fecal staining on his hind legs indicating serious diarrohea.

However, the court was told Brockhill had only bought this pony three weeks earlier.

Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh said on October 22, last year, at around 2pm a member of World Horse Welfare had attended a field in the Twemlow Parade area of Heysham, which contained 13 horses, mostly of good body condition, but one had a bridle that was “clearly too tight” around its nose.

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One horse was underweight, depressed and full of lice CREDIT: RSPCA

“There was a bad smell emanating from the wound.”

The charity worker alerted the RSPCA, and when another inspector attended they became concerned about the other horse which looked too thin.

Mr Ridehalgh added: “It was displaying extremely worrying behaviour and clearly was extremely unwell.

A veterinary surgeon who examined the animals concluded both had been caused suffering by his failure to act.

The horse's bridle was too tight, causing injuries CREDIT: RSPCA

Despite its injury, the first horse was bright, alert and responsive But the second was scored just one out of five on its body condition - zero being emaciated.

The defendant agreed to sign the animals over to the RSPCA.

The thin horse gained 8kg in the four weeks it boarded with the charity

During an interview, Brockhill admitted he owned both ponies but had only owned the malnourished one for three weeks.

One horse was underweight, depressed and full of lice CREDIT: RSPCA

He said he had when he arranged transport to a field in Skipton the horse was weak and could barely walk, and that he was “appalled” by its condition.

When it was pointed out that it should have been referred to a vet, he said he was experienced in keeping horses and it was his opinion the horse just needed a ‘good feed’.

The court heard Brockhill had a conviction for animal cruelty from 2002, but of a dissimilar nature.

Defending, Miss Parkinson asked the judge not to disqualify him from keeping animals, pointing out a number of horses were in the field and problems were only found with two of them.

District Judge Paul Clarke said there had been a “high level of suffering”, but recognised Brockhill had co-operated with the RSPCA.

He remarked it wasn’t “deliberate cruelty”, adding: “It comes down to competence and horse husbandry.”

Brockhill received a curfew and must pay a £90 surcharge and £600 costs at a rate of £20 a month.

His sentencing came after Lancaster City Council’s Licensing Regulatory Committee ruled Brockhill and his partner, Hollie, had breached regulations and conditions relating to the couple’s dog breeding activities, resulting in the immediate revoking of their breeding licence on Tuesday.

Animal activity licences, which are granted under The Animal Welfare (Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, can be revoked where licence conditions are not being complied with, where there has been a breach of regulations, where information supplied by the licence holder is false or misleading, or where it is necessary to protect the welfare of an animal.

The committee was satisfied that there were breaches on all four counts.

Coun Colin Hartley, Chair of the Licensing Regulatory Committee, said: “As with all other licences, any breaches in conditions by the licence holder are taken extremely seriously.

"Ultimately, dog breeding licences are in place to ensure that the welfare standards of the dogs are being met and on this occasion, there was reason enough for a decision be made to remove the licence as soon as possible."

Mr. and Mrs Brockhill have a right of appeal regarding the licence within the next 28 days.