A PONY was found in such a horrific state a vet took the decision to shoot it on the spot to end its suffering after being called by the RSPCA.
Two-year-old Barney was found lying on wet bedding, just two inches thick, in an unlit stable when animal inspectors were alerted to his plight last December.
His wet rug was torn and tangled from where he had been trying to get up, and there was no food or water within his reach, Sunderland magistrates were told.
The shivering skewbald cob was covered in scrapes from were he had tried to stand, pressure sores and both his eyes were oozing with pus.
Vet Lisa Patterson, who was called by the RSPCA to examine Barney described him as “extremely thin”.
“The simple opinion was that he had been starved,” prosecutor Iain O’Donnell said.
“By the time Miss Patterson was called, she had to shoot the horse herself.
“She went to her car, got her gun and did it.”
Miss Patterson said: “It’s a case that sticks in my mind. It was quite upsetting.
“When I arrived the horse was very still, although when I did go to interact with him he did paddle his front legs a bit. He was distressed. I conducted a full clinical examination.
“I concluded that the horse should be euthanised as quickly as possible on welfare grounds. There was no scope to wait.”
Despite Barney’s obvious suffering, owner Angela Blenkinsop, 49, had watched him deteriorate without calling a vet. She told the court she had organised to put him to sleep, but that was abandoned because of the snow.
In a second attempt to put Barney out of his misery, she told magistrates she called a farmer friend, who arrived with his shotgun but refused to shoot the pony as there were children in the yard. He had been due to return on the evening the RSPCA arrived, she told the court.
Blenkinsop keeps a number of horses and an assortment of poultry at the stables near her home in South Market Street, Hetton, which she co-owns with her sister.
The part-time cleaner has been told to pay more than £1,100 in fines and court costs after being found guilty of causing Barney unnecessary suffering.
She was also convicted of failing to protect him from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
Blenkinsop was found not guilty of two further charges under the Section 9, relating to the environment in which Barney was kept and his diet.
She was disqualified from keeping ponies, horses and donkeys for three years and she now has 14 days to give her animals away before the ban is enforced. If she does not comply, she faces prison.
Clive Ree, mitigating, said his client had hand-reared Barney since he was rejected from his mother as a foal. He was sold but returned to her in September last year in a “poor” condition after the new owners moved away.
But Barney starting to pick up and was putting on weight, it is claimed.
The stables flooded on November 27, leaving the animals standing in water up to their bellies overnight in the freezing cold, and Barney went into terminal decline, but Blenkinsop never called a vet and left him to suffer for 10 days.
“This horse was given back to her in an appalling state,” Mr Ree said. “She is without a doubt an animal lover.”
Sentencing the mum-of-one, district judge Roger Elsey said: “Clearly Barney was suffering. It was obvious that he needed immediate attention. A reasonable owner would have called a vet.
“This has come about because of your refusal to pay a vet.
“If you cannot afford to pay for treatment you shouldn’t have so many animals, simple as that.”