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Appalling Neglect of Horses' Feet Leads to Prosecution

Today Monday, 12th January, Charles and Gillian Harwood were before Cheltenham Magistrates Court for causing unnecessary suffering to 5 horses in their care.

Mr & Mrs Harwood of Four Shires Stone Farm, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos pleaded guilty to the charges. Because of exceptional mitigating circumstances the Magistrates gave the couple 3 years conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,464.25p costs between them.

Following a call to the ILPH, Field Officer Peter Griffiths visited the farm on 2 November 2000 to investigate. He found a number of stallions who, although living in filthy conditions, were in reasonable bodily condition. After several visits from him and following his advice, conditions at the farm steadily improved. Then, due to the onset of Foot and Mouth Disease he could no longer visit as there were cattle on the premises.

When in the area at the beginning of 2003 Peter decided to visit Four Shires Stone Farm again to make sure that the horses' good welfare was being maintained. He found 5 stabled stallions all of whom had extremely long feet that turned up like Turkish slippers with Metynas, one of the older stallions, coughing badly.

Comments Peter, "I was appalled at the state of the horses' feet they were so long they were crippling the poor creatures. I returned later that afternoon with the RSPCA and a vet and after examination it was decided that two of the stallions, due to the condition of their feet, were irrecoverable and that they should be euthanased. Metynas was also put down at the request of the owner.

"These horses' feet did not grow that long over night. All horses, and stabled horses in particular, need regular visits from a farrier to keep their feet trimmed. It was blatantly obvious that these horses had not been seen by a farrier for many, many months. There really is no excuse for neglect on this scale."



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