A RETIRED farmer given an immediate prison sentence for neglecting a horse will not have to go to jail after a judge allowed his appeal.
Thomas Parker was jailed for four months at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in April for repeatedly failing to get a vet to look at his emaciated horse Rupert. But he was bailed after appealing the sentence.
An RSPCA inspector said it was the thinnest he had ever seen and Rupert later collapsed and had to be put to sleep.
His teeth were in such a bad state he could not eat comfortably and had pressure sores.
Parker, 72, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to seek veterinary care between July 22 and September 22 last year.
But he launched an appeal at Teesside Crown Court yesterday saying the sentence was too harsh.
A judge and two magistrates agreed and reduced his sentence from 16 weeks immediate prison to 12 weeks suspended for 12 months.
Rupert was found in a barn near Green Farm in Wolviston on September 22 last year and contacted the charity World Horse Welfare.
John Ellwood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “A very experienced RSPCA Inspector called Garry Palmer saw Rupert and described it as the thinnest horse he had seen within his career with the RSPCA.
“The skeleton frame of Rupert was visible and prominent. A vet certified that the horse was suffering and the police seized Rupert and it was taken by the RSPCA in a horsebox.
“He had in their care collapsed.
“It is the prosecution’s case that this is a case of prolonged neglect.”
Parker was warned in August 2009 to take Rupert to a vet by the RSPCA and again in 2010 but failed to do so.
Vets for the RSPCA said Rupert’s deterioration would have been preventable by regular dental treatment.
But Parker claimed he was just old and had not starved to death.
The judge suspended the sentence because of Parker’s age and being told he looks after his wife who is a similar age.
Parker, of The Green, Wolviston, remains banned from keeping or caring for animals for life.