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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Cumbrian horse owner says neglected animal ‘will never recover’

The owner of a horse left to become emaciated and lice-infested by the person who was supposed to be caring for him says her pet will never fully recover.

Pat Ellithorn photo
Pat Ellithorn with Winston

Related: Carlisle horse lover admits pony neglect charges

Pat Ellithorn was shocked to discover her horse Winston severely underweight and suffering from painful skin conditions when she called to visit him in Penton in April last year.

Mrs Ellithorn, who lives just outside Longtown, has since nursed the six-year-old gelding back to health. But she has told The Cumberland News that she believes he will never fully recover from damage to his hooves and mental trauma of the neglect.

She said: “I am so angry. How could somebody do this to a defenceless animal?

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Bryher Parton-Hogarth, 20, who lives at a smallholding in Penton, was sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid work in the community and was banned from keeping equines for six years after admitting four counts of failing to protect four horses from pain, injury, suffering and disease between March 24 and April 24 last year.

The court heard that she had suffered a traumatic experience and had become depressed and unable to cope with the horses. Four charges of causing unnecessary suffering were dismissed.

Parton-Hogarth – said to be a keen horsewoman with qualifications in equine care – was initially charged alongside her mother, Julie Parton, 53, but a judge dismissed all eight charges against her.

Mrs Parton, who also lives at the house in Penton, is a clean neighbourhood and environment officer with Carlisle City Council but the court heard she is to be made redundant.

Following the removal of Winston, the RSPCA investigated the condition of the 14 other horses at the family home. Working with police, they seized a further three.

These horses, like Winston, were emaciated and also suffering from skin conditions rain scald and mud fever. RSPCA inspector Chris Towler said Winston and Ryan, an Arab gelding also on loan to Parton-Hogarth, were the thinnest horses he had seen in 26 years.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard that when Ryan’s owner Audrey Taylor saw him she was “horror-struck” at his condition and said he looked as though he was “waiting to die”.

The other two seized were owned by Parton-Hogarth and were Arab mare Peggy Sue and pony gelding Prince. Both were underweight and suffering skin conditions.

Pat Ellithorn said she couldn’t believe how much her horse, Winston, had deteriorated.

She said: “It was very distressing. I recognised him because he has very distinctive white markings on his nose. But otherwise he looked like nothing like the big strapping horse he had been. He was tiny.”

She returned to the field in Penton with a trailer and took Winston home where she kept a vigil over him through the night. “When we got him into the stable he collapsed. I thought he would die. My daughter and I took it in turns to stay with him.

“We called a vet immediately who told me to hand-feed him small amounts. There was a point when we thought he wouldn’t make it.”

She added: “He will never be the same again. I will never forgive myself for leaving him there but I thought he would be taken care of.”

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