Four ponies 'neglected' by traveller near Goole
A TRAVELLER who was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to four ponies has been allowed to keep animals in the future.
Montague Smith, 55 ,was found guilty of nine offences relating to four ponies in Laytham, near Goole, under the Animal Welfare Act.
Magistrates in Beverley handed Smith a five-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £250 in court costs.
However, taking into account his lifestyle as a traveller, it was decided the suspended sentence was sufficient.
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Hannah Bryer, an RSPCA inspector, said it was a severe case of neglect.
She said: "This case involved four ponies in extremely poor conditions.
"It is very upsetting for us to deal with the consequences of the neglect."
The cases relate to ponies Tyson, Chocolate, Connor and Spot. Chocolate, who was found suffering from a nasal discharge infection and was struggling to eat, eventually had to be put to sleep.
Ms Bryer said: "Tyson was the pony in the poorest condition. His spine, ribs and hips were protruding and his feet overgrown. His coat was caked in mud that had frozen."
Smith, who had no relevant previous convictions, told the Probation Service he had no idea what he had been committed for.
In a previous hearing on Monday, his partner, Mary Cameron, was convicted of two offences relating to one horse and sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge and banned from keeping horses for three years.
A 17-year-old girl, who was 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to three horses and was convicted of two offences relating to a fourth pony.
She was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge and banned from keeping horses for three years.
Arguing the case for Smith not to be disqualified from keeping his two current ponies, his solicitor, Andrew Craven, said: "Take away his horses and he will be dependent on other people. He would be a traveller who doesn't travel."
Smith, who suffers a chronic kidney disease, predominantly travels around the Yorkshire area and is currently based near York.
Chairman of the magistrates' bench Clive Vertigans said: "We have got to take action as you caused unnecessary suffering to animals.
"These are serious offences.
"I have taken into account your lifestyle as a traveller. I think a suspended sentence is sufficient to protect equines."