A man in Wales has been jailed for 10 weeks in a welfare case estimated to have cost more than £300,000.
Evan Lloyd Evans, 68, of Pencarth Uchaf Farm, Chwilog, Pwllheli, was jailed on Tuesday when he appeared for sentence in Caernarfon Magistrates Court after previously being found guilty of multiple animal welfare offences on October 25.
Evans was charged with causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the welfare needs of 51 horses at his property.
The court heard that RSPCA officers visited the defendant’s address on June 27 last year and examined his animals.
As a result, nine horses were euthanised by a veterinary surgeon due to untreatable hoof conditions and to prevent further suffering.
A further 50 were removed because they were suffering from inappropriate hoof care and living in an unsuitable environment.
The British RSPCA said the collective cost of boarding, veterinary and legal fees in the case came to more than £300,000.
The defendant was also banned from keeping or owning horses for 10 years.
RSPCA inspector Mark Roberts said: “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.
“We had been alerted to the fact there were many ponies in unsuitable conditions but did not expect to have to remove 50 of them on veterinary advice.
“In addition, the 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.
“The case highlights how over breeding and overstocking can spiral out of control with animals ending up as disposable commodities with no regard for their welfare needs.
“This is a fair sentence and sends a strong message to all horse owners and breeders that they must put the welfare of their horses before all else.”
World Horse Welfare’s field officer for North and Mid Wales, Tony Evans, said: “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.”