A PORTSMOUTH man has been ordered to pay £1,300 in fines and costs and banned from keeping horses for three years after allowing horses left on a “dumping ground” in Petersfield to become malnourished.

Joshua Pendelty (30), of Allaway Avenue in Portsmouth, appeared before magistrates on February 5, where he was found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He faced three charges that he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, a failure to adequately explore and address the causes of the said animals’ weight loss between May 14, and June 11 last year, was contrary to the act.

The case against Pendelty was brought by the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) and the World Horse Welfare charity.

The underfed horses were rescued from land at Causeway Farm, off The Causeway in Petersfield, by RSPCA inspectors, who were assisted by police officers.

They were removed after residents living in The Causeway and Sussex Road had reported concerns for their health.

They also reported finding stillborn foals on the land, and that they had seen horses being taken away and new ones arriving.

Some residents had taken to feeding the horses fly-grazing in the field. Fly-grazing is when owners gain acesss to land and leave horses on it to fend for themselves.

Magistrates heard Pendelty had left a black Friesian-type stallion named Eli, and two bay thoroughbred-type pregnant mares named Sophia and Duchess, on Causeway Farm.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Sandy Barlow said they were underweight, and Eli and Sophia also had misshapen, overgrown and broken hooves when they were rescued.

Both pregnant mares subsequently gave birth, although one foal was stillborn.

Barlow, who investigated for the animal welfare charity and worked alongside field officers from World Horse Welfare to rescue the horses, said: “Often land used for fly-grazing horses is unsuitable for horses.

“Fly-grazing is a big issue, and can lead to welfare problems.

“In this instance the area where they had been left had become a dumping ground for horses, and was totally unsuitable.

“This case is a reminder that owning horses is a huge responsibility and owners have to make sure they can assure the welfare of animals dependent on them.

“Keeping horses in good condition and meeting their welfare needs can be difficult.

“If an owner is not always guaranteeing an appropriate environment, such as suitable grazing, access to water and shelter, fly-grazing horses often experience welfare problems.”

Eli, Duchess and Zazoo the foal, have now fully recovered and will soon be available for rehoming.

Sophia was put to sleep by an independent vet after contracting untreatable colic.

Pendelty was fined £300 and ordered to pay £1,000 court costs.

For more information about rehoming an RSPCA rescue horse visit the website at: www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/re homeahorse