Today a man from Gwynedd, North Wales has received a ten week prison sentence and has been banned from keeping horses for ten years after being found guilty of multiple animal welfare offences.
In late October Mr Evan Lloyd Evans, 68, of Pencarth Uchaf Farm, Chwilog, Pwllheli was charged with causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the welfare needs of 51 horses at his property.
World Horse Welfare sent local field officer Tony Evans (no relation) to investigate following a call to their welfare line from a concerned member of the public.
Upon visiting the premises, Tony found a variety of horses kept inside very dark, small and dangerous spaces fenced off within a rundown barn. The horses had only mud-filled water to drink and mud and faeces for bedding which was almost knee deep and stallions were fenced off in small spaces and forced to pace up and down as they had mares in constant sight.
The conditions were completely unsuitable, so Tony immediately impressed upon Mr Evans that he needed to improve the conditions for his horses and encouraged him to reduce his stock by selling responsibly.
World Horse Welfare’s field officer was the only person that Mr Evans would work with to try to resolve the situation, and some improvements were made over a period of time.
Co-operation soon came to an abrupt end though when Tony arranged for a vet and farrier to attend with a view to examining all of the ponies in the ramshackle barn. Upon assessment, it was deemed that a few were in such a state that the best option for them was euthanasia.
At this point Mr Evans threw everybody off of his property, refusing to let the ponies receive the attention they required.
World Horse Welfare Field Officer for North and Mid Wales, Tony Evans, says:
“The conditions these ponies were living in and the level of care they were receiving had to be addressed. It saddens me to think that all the help and advice that was given to the owner failed to have any significant effect. As our main priority has to be the welfare of the ponies, we had no choice than to involve the RSPCA to undertake stronger measures.
“This was quite a complex case as there were other contributing factors I felt needed to be taken into consideration. The ponies’ welfare had to be at the forefront of our investigation, which has now resulted in the owner being sentenced. In many of the situations we deal with, long and costly prosecution cases can often be avoided if the owner follows the advice given by World Horse Welfare field officers and takes appropriate action.”
RSPCA Inspector Mark Roberts says: "The conditions we found at Criccieth Stud were appalling and completely inappropriate for the ponies kept there. Many of them had acute problems with their feet and other serious health issues.
"Although we had been alerted to the fact there were many ponies in unsuitable conditions we did not expect to have to remove 50 of them on veterinary advice. In addition vets also advised that nine had to be put to sleep as sadly their condition was so extreme there was no other way to alleviate their suffering.
"It was an extremely bad situation made worse by the fact that many of the ponies were virtually unhandled making any necessary treatment incredibly difficult to carry out.”
51 ponies were removed from Mr Evans’s care under the Animal Welfare Act and taken to an RSPCA holding yard before 25 of them were transferred to three of World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centres.
Today many of the ponies still have serious problems, and others have been put to sleep at World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centres. As part of a brighter future for these ponies now though, World Horse Welfare can look to rehome those which have been successfully rehabilitated.
Please help the charity care for those that can still be helped by donating to the charity’s group appeal, helping the largest rescue and rehoming charity to cope with the increasing number of large group cases that the charity are rescuing.