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The equines in muddy conditions

Owner of two neglected Shetland ponies and three donkeys is banned from keeping equines

25th February 2022

The owner of two Shetland ponies and three donkeys has been disqualified from keeping equines for ten years after pleading guilty to animal welfare offences.

When concerns were reported to us over the welfare of the five animals, we joined forces with The RSPCA and the Donkey Sanctuary to investigate further in January and February 2021.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Justin Le Masurier said: “Inspector Dickinson and welfare officers from Bransby Horses and the Donkey Sanctuary, discovered the equines were being kept in poor conditions and had been provided with inadequate shelter.

“Some had live lice in their coats and significantly overgrown hooves, with no evidence that a farrier had attended for many months. The animals had also not received adequate worm control or sufficient dental care. Despite advice and warnings being given to the owner – these were ignored and we had to take action to prevent suffering. ”

Our Welfare Manager, Rachel Jenkinson, said: “After they were found to be living in unsuitable conditions – knee-deep in mud and riddled with lice – and without their basic needs being met, we were keen to remove these equines as soon as possible. The complex needs of donkeys and ponies are completely different and were not being met in this mixed group environment.

“They are now receiving the individual care they require and are flourishing after months of hard work by our teams.”

As well as vet and farrier treatment, the two Shetlands required a special dietary programme in order to lose weight. Our teams also worked with two of the donkeys who were particularly wary on arrival, helping them to settle and learn to trust people again. All five animals have recovered well following their rescue.

Hannah Bryer, Head of Welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “We were initially called to the location by Bransby Horses to help assess the condition of the donkeys. It was immediately obvious that changes were needed to improve the situation.

“The field had become so poached with thick mud it was difficult for the equines to walk though, particularly around the water and shelter. Their hooves were overgrown and one of the donkeys was walking abnormally.

“We spoke with the owner, explained our concerns and gave detailed advice on the actions needed – including seeking veterinary advice and farrier care.

“When the situation remained unchanged, further intervention by the RSPCA was necessary to safeguard their welfare and prevent further suffering. We are grateful to Bransby Horses for providing all five equines with a secure future.”

Further updates on the five rescued animals will soon be provided by the teams here at Bransby Horses. 

For information on ways you can help us continue to respond to the growing number of welfare calls and rescue more horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in need, please visit our How To Help page.

Overgrown hooves
The donkeys had overgrown hooves