World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm rescues 19 ponies found in excrutiating pain

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Eight Shetland ponies have had to be euthanised after being found neglected and in excrutiating pain.

This follows a significant animal welfare operation involving World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA where the two charities responded to a call from a concerned member of the public and found 19 Shetland ponies in varying states of neglect.

11 miniature Shetland ponies have now had their lives turned around by World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm the charity’s Lancashire-based Rescue and Rehoming Centre. 11 miniature Shetland ponies have now had their lives turned around by World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm the charity’s Lancashire-based Rescue and Rehoming Centre. 
11 miniature Shetland ponies have now had their lives turned around by World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm the charity’s Lancashire-based Rescue and Rehoming Centre.  | UGC

The 11 miniature Shetland ponies have now had their lives turned around by World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm the charity’s Lancashire-based Rescue and Rehoming Centre. 

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The ponies’ owner - retired teacher Janet Marr, 73, of Sandall Park Drive, Doncaster, admitted three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and breaching the duty of a person responsible for an animal to ensure its welfare.

The court heard she had previously been subject to a written caution in relation to neglect of her Shetland ponies in June 2020. She was sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence of 12 months and given a lifetime ban on keeping all animals, with no application for the ban to be lifted for 12 years.

World Horse Welfare Field Officer, Sarah Tucker, who was involved in the rescue, shared her satisfaction at the sentencing.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the increased sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty that we successfully campaigned for, being used to good effect. We hope that we see more uses of lifetime bans in future cases. 

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“The defendant had a veneer of respectability within the showing world with two of her ponies well-looked after and in show condition, but she allowed the others to suffer in such a dreadful way, despite having received a previous caution for identical offences. 

“So many of this group of Shetlands were suffering with laminitis and the owner will now see the consequences of allowing this to happen."

Join our new WhatsApp Community to get the latest news and top stories from across Lancashire directly to your phoneSign up for our free newsletters now When they were found most of the ponies were overweight, many had overgrown hooves, and a number showed signs of extreme laminitis — a painful condition affecting their hooves.

When they were found most of the ponies were overweight, many had overgrown hooves, and a number showed signs of extreme laminitis — a painful condition affecting their hooves. When they were found most of the ponies were overweight, many had overgrown hooves, and a number showed signs of extreme laminitis — a painful condition affecting their hooves.
When they were found most of the ponies were overweight, many had overgrown hooves, and a number showed signs of extreme laminitis — a painful condition affecting their hooves. | UGC

Tragically, the severity of neglect resulted in six of the ponies needing to be euthanised on site due to the pain and suffering caused by chronic laminitis and two more were later euthanised due to ongoing health issues.

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Adam Cummins, Farm Manager at Penny Farm, added: “Ponies grazing endless, lush grass may seem idyllic, but the reality is very different.

“It has been a long road with the surviving ponies, it takes us longer to turn around an overweight pony than one that is underweight. The number that didn’t make it shows just how devastating laminitis can be.”

The Shetland case highlights the ongoing challenges associated with rescuing and rehabilitating horses that suffer from severe neglect, with each horse in the care of World Horse Welfare costing the charity in the region of £5,000 per year.

The team at Penny Farm has successfully rehabilitated the remaining ponies, including Bert, who was a tiny foal when he and his mother Lacey arrived at the centre. 

World Horse Welfare is the largest equine rescue and rehoming charity in the UK and anyone who feels they would like to rehome one of their horses can find out more HERE.

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