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Grand prix rider dressage Sam Duckworth in jail for horse neglect


  • A grand prix dressage rider who appeared “cavalier and boastful” in ignoring skilled recommendation as he precipitated struggling to younger horses has been imprisoned and banned from holding all animals for all times. H&H reported final month that Sam Duckworth, of Newmarket Street, Cambridgeshire, was discovered responsible of prices relating to 5 younger horses, at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Courtroom, after an 11-day trial.

    The 42-year-old was right this moment (6 December) sentenced on the similar court docket, for inflicting pointless struggling to 5 younger horses in his care by failing to analyze and handle the reason for their poor physique situation and weight reduction, and for failing to take steps to satisfy the wants of the identical 5 horses, having failed to offer an sufficient parasite management plan, required farriery and an acceptable eating regimen, and failing to hunt veterinary consideration in respect of the animals’ poor situation.

    The court docket heard the fees utilized from December 2020 to January 2021, when the horses had been seized by the RSPCA. District decide Ian Strongman mentioned the horses needed to be moved to the premises involved “in a little bit of a rush”. The supplier of the premises, Melvin Sanders, was then “put upon” by Duckworth to take care of the horses.

    “[Mr Sanders] did so as a result of he felt for the animals and didn’t wish to see them with out,” Mr Strongman mentioned. “Then Lauren Ball was introduced on board.”

    The court docket heard Ms Ball was extremely skilled however solely employed for an hour every day, “however she did an terrible lot of additional work as a result of she was involved for the horses’ welfare, and ignored directions from Mr Duckworth about feeding them,” Mr Strongman mentioned. “She felt they wanted extra feed, and however for her, the animals might have been in a worse situation.”

    Prosecutor Sara Pratt mentioned that of the 5 horses, one was owned by Duckworth, the others in his care. One has since died in RSPCA care, having turn out to be unwell.

    She mentioned Mr Sanders was put ready the place he felt he needed to take care of the horses.

    “The prosecutions says Mr Duckworth ignored warnings {and professional} recommendation given to him,” she mentioned. “He was dismissive of the RSPCA and the recommendation he was given by RSPCA vets and his personal. We discover he failed correctly to observe recommendation on feed and worming.”

    Ms Pratt mentioned Duckworth additionally ignored warnings from Ms Ball and Mr Sanders in relation to the horses’ welfare, referring to messages thought of in the course of the trial.

    She additionally referred to proof that the horses had been affected by malnourishment or a excessive worm burden, “or just not having the diet they wanted in order that they had been metabolising their sources when it comes to muscle and tissue to remain alive”.

    The court docket heard the horses’ physique situation scores had been one at 0.5 on the 0-5 scale, three at one and one at 1.5, and Ms Pratt mentioned the prosecution wished him banned from holding all animals, not simply equids.

    “He displayed what is perhaps referred to as a cavalier angle to those horses in his care and didn’t observe recommendation given by professionals,” she mentioned. “He wasn’t somebody who was incapable of recognising the wants of horses and wasn’t unable to take care of them.

    “He’s knowledgeable rider and the behaviour he seems to have displayed seems bordering on vanity, of realizing higher than anybody, so we really feel this more likely to lengthen to different animals in his care. He’s merely unable to see his personal failings or observe recommendation.

    “In keeping with him, he had the monetary means to take care of the horses however merely selected to not.”

    Defence counsel Mr Jessop mentioned this case was severe however not as severe as many who come earlier than court docket.

    He mentioned the neglect of the horses was not extended; there was loads of proof between October 2020, when the horses had been first seen, and January, once they had been seized, that each Ms Ball and vets mentioned there was “ample hay, bedding and feed”.

    “For Lauren Ball, it may not have come rapidly sufficient typically however she mentioned to this court docket it all the time got here and he or she all the time had a response from [Duckworth],” he mentioned. “I took her by the messages and steered he wasn’t shutting his ears to her pleas for help, feed or hay, and he or she agreed he’d reply in the end; it was by no means going to be fast sufficient for her. Her proof helps this, that feed, bedding and hay had been equipped and the horses’ wants had been being handled. It’s not a case of whole non-action or ignorance of what’s gone on.”

    Mr Jessop mentioned Duckworth “didn’t attend a lot” however that this was throughout Covid, which restricted his capability to be on the premises.

    “The proof appears to recommend it wasn’t creeping struggling; it was extra complicated than that,” he mentioned. “They had been enhancing for a time. Lauren Ball mentioned at Christmas just one appeared to drop and the others had been enhancing. It seems deterioration might have occurred after that, when lots of the messages finish. There’s no proof of a excessive degree of struggling.”

    Mr Jessop mentioned there was no proof Duckworth didn’t worm, and that “he might not have carried out sufficient however it’s not the case he didn’t have interaction in any respect with vets or these taking care of the horses”. He added that Duckworth did observe recommendation on feeding, and that he has labored with horses since he was 16 and had accountability for “in all probability hundreds of horses”.

    “There was one incident in Germany that was fully unrelated; till now when it comes to animal welfare, he’s a person of excellent character,” he mentioned.

    Mr Jessop mentioned Duckworth’s solely earnings was lower than £1,000 monthly from his mother and father, however Mr Strongman rejected this, and wouldn’t permit Duckworth to elucidate, including: “I perceive he mentioned at any time, he had about 100 horses and breeding 60-80 foals a 12 months, which he presumably sells. I discover him an unreliable witness and I don’t assume something he might say would change my thoughts.”

    There was dispute over the possession of the horses however Mr Strongman mentioned that as he had not seen ample proof to recommend in any other case, he dominated that each one belonged to Duckworth so a deprivation order was made on them.

    Sam Duckworth was given a direct 18-week jail sentence and ordered to pay £68,860 in prices, together with the care of the horses for the reason that seizure. He was banned from holding all animals for all times and can’t apply to reverse this for 5 years.

    “It’s a kind of instances the place acceptable punishment can solely be achieved with a direct custodial sentence,” Mr Strongman mentioned.

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