July 1, 2024 | Animal Stories

11 ponies rescued

11 ponies rescued

Eleven miniature Shetland ponies suffering excruciating pain have had their lives turned around by our member World Horse Welfare and their team at the Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

Working alongside the RSPCA, the two charities responded to a call from a concerned member of the public and sadly found nineteen Shetland ponies in varying states of neglect.

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

The ponies’ owner was sentenced in May by the Crown Court, with 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: “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.

“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.

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.

Sarah added: “One of the best parts of my job is seeing horses thriving after the pitiful state they are in when we rescue them and knowing that they will be rehomed into loving, safe, homes for the rest of their lives.”

Can you help all our member charities help rescue and treat neglected animals in distress who are suffering? Please, if you can, donate and help today.