A KIDDERMINSTER man has been banned from owning horses after a pregnant mare was left to suffer in an "emaciated" condition.

A bay mare owned by 25-year-old William Thornton was found to be in very poor condition, despite notices to prevent its condition from deteriorating previously being left by the RSPCA.

The horse's foal sadly died due to poor health, despite the efforts of vets and the RSPCA’s equine care teams.

The horse later became very unwell herself, with vets making the difficult decision to put her to sleep to end her suffering further.

Thornton, also known as Dennis, of no fixed abode, admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and was sentenced at Kidderminster Magistrates Court on November 6.

The district judge disqualified Thornton from owning horses for six years and gave him a community order involving 120 hours of unpaid work during the next 12 months. Thornton was also ordered to pay costs of £400.

RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith attended an address on Timber Lane, Stourport, in December 2022, after the charity received reports about the welfare of horses kept there.

She left an advice notice for a bay mare, known as Gypsy Speedy, who at that point was identified to be under an ideal weight, and advice was given to Thornton to provide additional forage and to ensure a farrier attends.

However, she returned in January and found no action had been taken. She found the mare’s condition had deteriorated.

In her witness statement, inspector Smith said: “The pregnant bay mare was visibly severely underweight, she had deteriorated a lot in the five and a half weeks, with her spine, pelvis and shelf above her ribcage being exposed despite a thick winter coat.

"There was no additional forage, and the grazing available was insufficient to meet the needs of the equines.”

Inspector Smith called a specialist equine vet to attend, who examined the horse and confirmed she was "suffering unnecessarily" given her poor body condition and lack of nutrition available.

West Mercia Police attended and placed Gypsy Speedy into the care of the RSPCA.

In their witness statement, the vet stated Gypsy Speedy’s body condition score was just one out of five.

They added: “The body condition score of the animal was unacceptably low and the animal was being caused unnecessary suffering.

"In my opinion, the cause of the poor body condition was due to malnutrition, starvation and/or an inadequate parasite control programme.

"The mare has been caused suffering for at least six weeks and would continue to suffer if the circumstances did not change.

“In my opinion, the owner has failed in their duty of care by failing to provide adequate food, by failing to implement a suitable parasite control programme, by failing to provide adequate farriery and by failing to seek veterinary advice.

Inspector Smith added: “It’s very sad when we identify an animal that is at risk and clearly discuss with the owner changes and improvements they need to make in order to prevent their animal from suffering, but that advice isn’t taken.

"Thankfully, in the vast majority of our work, owners take on board this advice and make the changes that are needed and the lives of the animals are vastly improved.

"Sadly there are some cases, such as this one, where animals are caused to suffer as a result of owners who refuse to take the required action.”