‘It was the worst case of animal neglect I have ever seen’.
They are the words of shocked vet Janice Dixon after a Stanton Hill woman was convicted of the sickening neglect of a ‘defenceless’ young horse.
Horrific images and graphic video footage show the appalling conditions the horse was forced to endure.
It was so malnourished it was unable to even stand.
The horse’s owner Sarah Tugby was this week given a 14-month jail term suspended for 12 months and banned from keeping horses for 10 years.
Yesterday Miss Dixon, of Rainworth-based McPherson and Partners Vets, told Chad of the horror Tugby put the horse through and revealed how close to death it was.
“It was the worst case of animal neglect I have ever seen in all my 20 years as a veterinary surgeon,” said Miss Dixon, who gave evidence in the trial at Mansfield magistrates on Monday.
“It was the closest to death that I have seen an animal, but was lucky enough to survive.
“The poor defenceless animal was all skin and bones, covered in lice and was riddled with worms. He was not even able to stand unassisted.”
The then one-year-old horse weighed just 98kg when it was rescued - half of what is should weigh at that age.
Its welfare was highlighted by concerned neighbours who initially contacted the British Horse Society.
Added Miss Dixon: “When we arrived the colt was just collapsed in the field, there was no water, no hay or any shelter, and this was in February so the weather conditions were freezing.
“The colt had chronic emaciation. The worse case I have ever seen. It is just heartbreaking to see an animal treated this way.”
She said Tugby refused an offer of free advice from the veterinary practice.
The horse was taken away for treatment the day after its extreme deterioration was discovered and since then has been intensely cared for by a local equestrian centre.
Tugby (43), of Fackley Street, was also given 100 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £700 costs after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the chestnut colt horse.
Miss Dixon added: “It is thanks to the neighbours and community for bringing this to our attention. We need more people to do this to help defenceless animals who have no quality of life.
“If people cannot provide properly and take care of these animals, then quite simply they should not have them.”
The two-year-old horse has now been re-homed and is ‘back to full health and is full of the joys of spring’.