Preston man banned after horse left with maggot-infested leg injury

This article contains graphic images which some readers may find distressing.

A man from Lancashire has been found guilty of animal welfare offenses after he failed to seek adequate treatment for his horse’s maggot-infested leg injury.

The horse had to be put to sleep due to the severity of the condition.

William Byrne, from Preston, denied two animal welfare offences, but was found guilty of both and was sentenced on Wednesday (16 November) at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Lancashire Telegraph: Tiny's maggot-infested leg injuryTiny’s maggot-infested leg injury (Image: RSPCA)

The 47-year-old was given an 18 week sentence, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from owning horses for ten years, with no appeal for five years.

In addition, he was given a daily curfew for 12 weeks, between 7pm and 7am, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128.

The RSPCA was called in September 2021 after being made aware of concerns for a black cob horse seen at a property in Mill Lane, Hambleton.

Lancashire Telegraph: Tiny's leg injuryTiny’s leg injury (Image: RSPCA)

Upon discovering the pony had a severe leg condition, police and vets were called and an investigation began.

Tiny was transported to World Horse Welfare to undergo emergency treatment, but sadly, despite the vet’s best efforts, Tiny had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy said after sentencing said: “This was a very sad case for our team to deal with, and we were so very sad that Tiny could not be saved.

“If he had received the appropriate treatment sooner the outcome may have been different for him, but sadly, Mr Byrne failed to get him the veterinary care he so obviously, and desperately needed.

“It’s really upsetting for us at the RSPCA, our colleagues at World Horse Welfare and the vets, who all collectively tried as hard as we could to save him.”

In their witness statement, the veterinary surgeon who treated Tiny on behalf of the RSPCA described how the stallion had a known condition that had been diagnosed a year previously”.

Lancashire Telegraph: Tiny's leg injuryTiny’s leg injury (Image: RSPCA)

Although he had received some veterinary treatment “further examination was denied by the owner, and almost three months later the horse was still suffering.”

They said: The limbs of this horse were ulcerated in areas, bleeding and inflamed, and there was a secondary bacterial infection present.

“The right hind limb also had a maggot infestation which would have also caused further distress.

“In my opinion, the owner did not act in the best interests of the welfare of this horse – a responsible, caring owner would have sought adequate veterinary care.”

As mitigation, Mr Byrne cited incompetent care rather than deliberate neglect.

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