Horse owner banned from keeping animals after horses found with horrendous hooves


A man from Aberdeenshire has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting two of his horses which had some of the worst feet World Horse Welfare has ever seen.

Haggis' overgrown feet

Keith Ritchie, 65, of Maidencraig Place, Mastrick, Aberdeen pleaded guilty yesterday (Wednesday 20 June) at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to one offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act for failing to provide the necessary veterinary attention to his two Shetland ponies called ‘Haggis’ and Neeps’. The conviction comes following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

Yesterday, Ritchie was also sentenced at court and was banned from keeping all animals for life and fined £750. The court heard how on Friday 30 July 2010 a concerned member of the public contacted our charity after seeing the Shetland stallions grazing on a huge area of grassland near Aberdeen. World Horse Welfare Field Officer Doug Howie visited the site and found that the ponies had access to 60 acres of grazing. The black Shetland, Neeps, was severely overweight and had long feet, and the chestnut Shetland pony, Haggis, was overweight and lame with long feet.

It was agreed that the ponies should be removed from the site and they were signed over into the care of World Horse Welfare, arriving at our Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on Thursday 5 August 2010.

Doug Howie commented on the case by saying: “These ponies’ feet were amongst the worst I have ever seen but poor feet are unfortunately becoming an all too common problem. Their feet had clearly been neglected for many months, perhaps even years, causing a great deal of pain and suffering. I am satisfied with the result as it means Mr Ritchie won’t be able to inflict this kind of misery onto other animals again.”

Caroline Heard is Assistant Manager at Belwade Farm and says: “Just a glance at these ponies was an instant shock. They were overweight and the length of their feet was unbelievable as Haggis could not stand still as he was literally on rockers behind. There had obviously been no attempt at managing these ponies and they undoubtedly suffered from this neglect. The good news is that we were able to provide the proper care that Haggis and Neeps deserved at Belwade Farm and they have never suffered another laminitic attack.”

Haggis and Neeps successfully completed their rehabilitation at Belwade Farm and have been rehomed into loving new homes. For more information about our rehoming scheme and to see all of the other horses and ponies we have ready for rehoming, please visit our Rehome A Horse pages.