AN animal lover has spoken out to defend the horse that bit a young Wearside boy.
Anthony Selby, from Springwell, is the owner of the Shetland Pony that bit Steven Goldsmith back in May.
The 32-year-old said that Shetland Pony Spotty was bought for his daughter, seven-year-old Hayley, and the incident was a “one-off for the friendly horse”.
“I had bought the horse just before little Steven got bitten and I had him tied on the dene,” he said. “He is not dangerous.”
Anthony said that the horse had regular contact with children and it had never showed any signs of aggression.
“I go and feed it twice a day with my kids and if he was a vicious horse surely he would have bitten us, but he never has,” he said.
“He is such a friendly horse. I can feed him apples and polos out of my mouth and I never get bitten.
“He’s the best Shetland I’ve ever had.”
Anthony, who is also dad to 10-year-old Taylor, believes that the incident could be due to children, who he thinks were previously terrorising his horse.
“I was told by people on St Luke’s Terrace that kids had been hitting the horses on the dene with sticks, pulling their tails and setting their dogs on to them before he bit Steven,” he said.
“So he wouldn’t have known if the kids were going to stroke him or attack him.”
Anthony said that when he found out Steven had been bitten, he could not believe that it was his placid pony that had done it.
“When I found out I just said ‘not our Spotty’,” he said.
“I felt really guilty and I went straight round to apologise to Sarah [Steven’s mum]. I offered to take Steven out on the trap, to give him money and take him to see the horses so he wouldn’t be scared.”
Anthony now feels that horses are being given a bad name due to a “couple of unlucky incidents”.
“I love my horses,” he said. “I’ve had them all my life.
“There are kids buying horses, you can get them really cheap, but it’s looking after them.”
Spotty is now in a different field.
He said: “There is nobody there to bother him now.”