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Edgworth man left horses to survive in 'filth'
LICE-INFESTED, worm-ridden horses were left to ‘live in filth’ in muddy, overgrazed fields, a court has heard.
Philip Davies is accused by the RSPCA of failing to look after 17 horses which he kept on land in Edgworth.
Hyndburn Magistrates Court heard the animals were underweight and had mite, lice and worm infestations, foot rot, and liver damage caused by eating poisonous ragwort weeds.
Davies, 65, of Plantation Road, Edgworth, has been charged with 56 animal cruelty offences brought forward during the RSPCA prosecution.
He has pleaded not guilty to 53 counts of causing unnecessary suffering relating to the horses in his care on land off Plantation Road, but admitted they had been kept in an unsatisfactory environment.
The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of failing to protect 14 horses from pain, injury, suffering and disease, and two counts of failing to provide a suitable environment.
Iain O’Donnell, prosecuting, said the RSPCA were called to the land on the evening of Monday, November 28, last year after reports from about an exhausted horse tangled in barbed wire, caked in mud, and unable to stand. The horse had collapsed earlier that day and Mr Davies had been advised to put it into stables.
The court heard after rescuing the horse with assistance from neighbours, inspectors arranged to move it and meet with Mr Davies during daylight hours. Inspector Lyndsey Taylor revisited the land two days later and expressed her concerns about the field.
Several visits later, Chief Inspector Cathy Hyde served a notice on Mr Davies to find alternative housing for the horses, but this was not met.
District Judge Peter Ward, sitting at the court, heard that RSPCA inspectors were so worried for the animals’ welfare they ordered the removal of the horses.
Davies tried to appeal the removal but the correct paperwork was not completed.
In the meantime a vet attended and found the environment unsuitable, with little grazing and no shelter. The RSPCA then rounded up 14 of the 16 untamed horses and took them for treatment and rehabilitation. The final two had to be sedated before being transferred to stables in Bolton.
Equine vet Simon Constable told the court he inspected them and said there was evidence they had been ‘constantly standing in filthy conditions’. While giving evidence in the court about a black shire cross, he said: “The foot was full of faeces and mud. The horse had been suffering for at least two months, as a conservative estimate.
“This was obvious by the putrid smell associated with thrush and rotting flesh and sensitive tissue.”
He said this was mirrored in the majority of the horses. Test results showed the animals had “severe” mite and lice infestation. He said: “They were itching, biting and scratching themselves. There was evidence of self harm of all the horses.”
He also claimed the animals were suffering liver damage, caused by eating ragwort, a claim disputed by the defence solicitor.