A pony’s gashed neck left a horse trader facing £4,077 legal bill and he must also carry out 100 hours community work, after he appeared in court.
But magistrates allowed piebald pony Rosy to be returned to Tracy Gaskin, 49, after he claimed the injury was caused by someone tampering with its tether as the animal grazed off Whiteley Road in Ripley.
And JPs declined to ban him from keeping animals after hearing he had tended horses since he was a child and sold them for a living.
Gaskin admitted failing to ensure the welfare needs of an animal; not having a ‘horse passport’ for Rosy and three counts of allowing animals to stray on roads around Ripley on September 14, October 7 and 8.
Magistrate Irene Longstaff told him:”We take animal cruelty very seriously but this case is slightly unusual because it is neglect and not a deliberate act.
“From the photographs, the wound looks awful but the horse looks to be in a good condition,” she added at the hearing in Derby. Gaskin of Alfreton Road, Codnor was ordered to pay the costs at £200 monthly.
John Last, mitigating, said Gaskin’s mistake had been in failing to carry out close checks on Rosy, who was found with the injury during an RSPCA check on October 9.
“Someone else interfered with the tethering and made the knot which caused the problem. The horse was in good bodily condition, bright and alert.
“He is a horse trader and has been dealing with horses since he could walk. He knows how to tether a horse and his vet says he knows how to tether a horse,” said Mr Last.
He told the court Gaskin’s father owned up to 300 horses and divided them among his nine sons when he died a year ago. And he said police had Gaskin’s phone number “on speed dial” whenever horses strayed on the roads. He always turned out to help, although often the animals were not his.
John Sutcliffe, for the RSPCA, said the two-year-old pony was fitted with a head collar and one which appeared to be made from seat belt material. Both were attached by electric insulating tape.
As inspector Mick Darling approached the animal, he noticed a cut on the right side of the jaw. This was infected and full of pus. A vet took the pony to her surgery so the collars could be removed under anaesthetic.
Mr Sutcliffe said:”It had caused unnecessary suffering for at least seven days and probably longer.”
He said all horses needed to be microchipped and to have documents proving their identities.
Mr Sutcliffe added:”The issue of the passport is not purely administrative but has an enormous topicality.
“It is a record of medical treatments and shows whether it should be allowed in the human food chain.”
But in this case, the offence down to Gaskin’s “relaxed approach to the regulations.”