A HORSE trader has been jailed for inflicting “immense cruelty” on a number of horses and ponies in his care.

Mark Hall failed to give the animals any food, water or grazing land at his premises in Bringsty, near Broadwas, and Bromyard. A vet found 18 of the animals to be emaciated while two of the horses were later put down.

The animals were taken off 46-year-old Hall and handed to a sanctuary in north Herefordshire shortly after the grim discovery in July 2012.

The defendant, of Bromyard Road, Bringsty, was given a 23-week jail term at Hereford Magistrates’ Court after admitting five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals and three counts of failing to ensure animal welfare.

He will also be banned from owning horses, sheep, cattle or pigs for at least 10 years and ordered to pay the sanctuary’s vets fees of £13,500 and prosecution costs of £1,800. “Mark Hall inflicted immense cruelty and unnecessary suffering to animals to which he owed a duty of care,” said Owen Beale, senior crown prosecutor from West Midlands’ Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“When officers arrived at his premises they found an assortment of horses and ponies housed in a variety of shelters, but there was no evidence of any water, horse feed or access for the animals to graze.

“One of the horses was suffering from an untreated injury and was in such poor health that a vet recommended immediate euthanasia on humane grounds. Another horse collapsed the day after it was taken to a horse sanctuary and had to be put down. When arrested, Hall said the animals suffered from a respiratory infection and salmonella, but there was no evidence that he administered any drugs or sought any medical help for them,” said Mr Beale.

Philip York, head of equine operations at Bransby Horses Rescue and Welfare in Stoke Prior, said he was very pleased with the sentencing.