RESCUED: The foal which spent the first 18 months of its life in a dark isolated barn

A MAN from Methwold has been banned from keeping animals for life after keeping a mare and foal isolated in a dark barn for more than 18 months. 

Frederick Charles Stannard, 64,  pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, after two ponies, a mare and her foal, were found in a neglected state last September.

Until his rescue, the foal had spent his entire life in the dark and never been out in the sun.

The ponies have been rehabilitated at Redwings Horse Sanctuary during the past five months and now have a permanent home at the sanctuary.

Stannard, of the High Street, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on March 1.

He was sentenced to a lifetime ban on owning all animals, given a 12-week prison sentence for each offence to run concurrently, which was suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £150 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

RSPCA inspector Chris Nice, who investigated the matter, said: “We were made aware of these two little ponies, Charlie and Bella, back in September 2016, after a dog walker strayed from the footpath accidently, and came across the secluded barn.

“They were very lucky to have been found in this way, as who knows how much longer they would have gone on suffering, undiscovered, as the barn was in the middle of a 20-acre field.”

Stannard admitted failing to provide care and causing them unnecessary suffering, and willingly signed both over to the care of the RSPCA.

Mr Nice said Stannard could see the animals weren’t well, but said he couldn’t afford to have them seen by a vet.

“It seems his lack of knowledge of horses led him to becoming overwhelmed at taking care of them.

“In reality, horses are hard work to look after, not to mention expensive, and this case really shows that if you don’t have the time, knowledge or experience, you shouldn’t own a horse. I am really glad to hear Bella and Charlie have recovered well in Redwings’ care,” said Mr Nice.