A man from Ripon, North Yorkshire has been disqualified from keeping equines for five years after failing to meet the needs of two donkeys whose hooves were very overgrown, in a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

Donkey taken into possession by RSPCA

Ian Stoyles of Gallows Hill appeared before Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (14 February) for a case management hearing but pleaded guilty instead.

He admitted one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of, on a day or dates between 6 October 2016 and 6 April 2017, failing to meet the needs of a grey female donkey and a brown and white female donkey by failing to meet their need for adequate hoof care and maintenance.

The RSPCA attended the field where the donkeys were living along with several horses on Scotchman Lane, Morley, Leeds on 6 April last year along with The Donkey Sanctuary after concerns were raised for their welfare.

The two donkeys and a third donkey, who was bonded to one of them, were taken into possession by police on veterinary advice and placed in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary, pending the outcome of the RSPCA’s investigation.

Donkey taken into possession by RSPCA

RSPCA inspector Kris Walker said: “These donkeys had very overgrown hooves which were obvious to anyone.

“Providing regular and routine farriery care is a vital part of owning equines.

“Cases like this are very sad as they could so easily be avoided.”

Hannah Bryer, head of welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Owning donkeys can be a hugely rewarding experience and a wonderful privilege, however they require caring and compassionate management to ensure they lead healthy and enriched lives.

“The hooves of these two donkeys were severely overgrown, distorting the normal angles of the limb. These changes cause undue stresses and strains on the joints and soft tissues which has a detrimental impact on their welfare.

“Despite being easy to remedy, lack of appropriate hoof care remains one of the most common welfare issues faced by donkeys in Great Britain today.

“Happily with the support of vets, farriers and grooms, both donkeys have made a full recovery. One of the donkeys was very shy and nervous of people when she first came to us but her grooms have been working hard to improve her confidence and her trust in humans is slowly growing.

“We are grateful to the combined efforts of the RSPCA, West Yorkshire Police and all involved in investigating this case. The disqualification order imposed by the court serves to protect the welfare of donkeys in the future and we are pleased to provide both donkeys with a safe and secure future.”

As well as the five year disqualification, Stoyles was ordered to pay £120 fine, £30 victim surcharge and £200 costs. In mitigation, he said he had asked a farrier to do it but hadn’t checked.