Lifetime ban for owner of emaciated mare and foal kept in the dark for more than 18 months

Bella and Charlie

On Wednesday 1st March, Frederick Stannard received a lifetime ban on owning all animals having pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 relating to neglected ponies, Bella and Charlie.

In late September 2016, our senior field officer Julie Harding and welfare vet Nicola Berryman, together with the police and RSPCA inspector Chris Nice, responded to a welfare report from a member of the public about two ponies shut in a barn.

When attending the barn, they found a 20-year-old bay Welsh Cross mare, Bella, and her yearling, Charlie.

“Bella had been shut in the barn for more than 18 months,” explains field officer Julie. “The barn had very little ventilation, was strewn with rubbish and was also providing a home to an array of poultry. After a month of being closed in the barn, Bella gave birth to Charlie, so for the first 17 months of his life before his rescue, Charlie had been kept in the dark, never feeling the sun on his back.”

Both ponies were emaciated, suffering from overgrown feet and were covered in lice. They were also both completely unhandled and so very fearful of people.

“Bella in particular was terrified,” reflects vet Nicola. “Despite having a body condition score of only 0.5 out of 5, Bella still had real fight in her, meaning her recovery has required a great deal of patience in order to help her trust us.”

After their rescue, Bella and Charlie were brought back to the Sanctuary where they have undergone extensive veterinary and farriery treatment. The pair have also been given a permanent home at Redwings where they will undergo behaviour training to ensure they are comfortable being handled.

Nicola continue: “I am very pleased with their progress, especially considering the terrible state they arrived in six months ago. Both are now bright, happy and have a healthy body condition score of 3, which is a real credit to our team’s care and sympathetic handling”.

At Norwich Magistrates Court, as well as a lifetime ban Mr Stannard was handed a 12-week prison sentence for each offence (suspended for two years), and ordered to pay £150 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

RSPCA Inspector Chris Nice said: “We were made aware of these two little ponies, after a dog walker strayed from the footpath accidently, and came across the secluded barn. They were very lucky to have been found in this way, as who knows how much longer they would have gone on suffering, undiscovered, as the barn was in the middle of a 20-acre field, completely isolated.

“Mr Stannard admitted failing to provide care for these ponies and causing them unnecessary suffering. It seems his lack of knowledge of horses led him to becoming overwhelmed at taking care of them.

“In reality, horses are hard work to look after, not to mention expensive, and this case really shows that if you don’t have the time, knowledge or experience, you shouldn’t own a horse.”

Redwings is a 100% publicly funded charity, and it is thanks to your support that we are able to offer horses like Bella and Charlie a safe and happy forever home. If you have been touched by their story and would like to support our work in rescuing horses in need, please give whatever you can below. Thank you.

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