#TheList horse abuser Steven Martin Lock, born c. 1964, of Penisaf Avenue, Towyn, Abergele LL22 9LL
Gypsy traveller Steven Lock pleaded guilty to four Animal Welfare Act offences related to his “appalling” and “long-running” treatment of equines.
The 54-year-old, a notorious rogue trader with a conviction for ripping off elderly customers, admitted offences relating to the mistreatment of seven mares and one stallion.
RSPCA Cymru had long been monitoring the welfare of a number of horses, located at fields off Tan-y-Fron Road in Abergele.
Despite repeated warnings and the provision of advice – the welfare of a number of the animals started to decline sharply over the autumn of 2018.
In October 2018 officers removed three mares and a filly from the site, all of whom were very underweight and had severe diarrhoea.
Three foals belonging to the mares were also removed, because they were too young to come away from their mothers.
A further three mares, a filly and a stallion were removed in December 2018, many appearing thin, and living in muddy conditions. One was found to be suffering, while the remainder were not having their needs sufficiently met.
Two horses had to be euthanised after becoming seriously unwell. A post-mortem examination of them showed they had serious liver damage thought to be caused from ragwort as well as internal damage caused by parasites.
RSPCA inspector Jenny Anderton said: “This was a really difficult case to work on, given the repeated attempts and efforts we made to support this individual with caring for the horses.
“We worked closely with World Horse Welfare to help these horses, and we’re very grateful, as always, for their support, assistance and expertise.
“Sadly, the man’s failure to provide proper care was long-running, and some of the treatment these horses endured was appalling.
“Many were very thin, and living in wholly inappropriate muddy conditions. Others were struggling with severe diarrhoea and urgently needed help.
“Owning equines should be a privilege – but despite repeated warnings and attempts of help, this individual repeatedly failed to give the equines the care they so desperately needed.
“I hope this incident highlights to people how important it is to give equines appropriate treatment for parasites, be vigilant against the toxic plant ragwort as well as consulting your vet at the first sign of any illness.
“Horses have complex needs, are expensive to keep properly and time-consuming to look after.
“I would urge anyone considering taking on a horse to ensure they have the necessary financial means and specialist knowledge before they do so.”
Sentencing: curfew; ordered to pay £250 towards costs. Ten-year ban on keeping animals.