A man and woman have been convicted of abusing a Shetland pony called Fred.
Adam Patterson, 22, and Fay Spanswick, 22, appeared before Swindon Magistrates’ Court this afternoon jointly charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Matthew Knight told the court the pair were filmed by a witness training the pony in a field off Westcourt Lane, Burbage, between 13 and 17 April last year.
During the two videos – lasting a total of 100 minutes – Fred, owned by Spanswick, was subjected to kicks and blows from the defendants. He was also jumped upon and forcibly pinned to the ground. The footage also showed them inflicting blows from a piece of piping and a riding crop.
Whilst Mr Knight accepted it wasn’t purposeful harm inflicted on Fred, the pair used violent and inappropriate methods of training which would have been a “very frightening” experience for the animal.
Patterson, of Marr Green Farm, and Spanswick, of The Dairy, Bath Road, Devizes, each pleaded guilty to the offence.
Magistrates adjourned the case until 24 May for a pre-sentence report to be compiled. They were both released on unconditional bail.
The offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, carries a maximum prison sentence of 51 weeks.