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Neglect shame of racehorse owner Ray Vardy
A RACEHORSE owner who starved and neglected 22 thoroughbreds has been banned from keeping horses and faces a £113,000 court bill.
Two of the horses belonging to Ray Vardy were in such a bad condition that they were put down on the advice of vets, said Phil Brown, prosecuting.
They and others were kept on land off North Lane, Huntington, York, with little or no grass and with no extra food such as hay and water. They had no proper shelter and were without bedding, or their bedding was covered in faeces.
Two were running loose in a yard. All were thin and in poor condition. There were so many animals, it took the RSPCA three days to remove them.
Both the vets who examined the horses told the RSPCA in witness statements the animals had suffered and must have been neglected for months to be in the state they were in.
The horses were also so wary of being handled, they appeared to have had very little human contact.
Mr Brown told the court one of the horses was so difficult to handle, it became injured while being rescued.
Vardy’s solicitor, Stephen Welford, told Selby magistrates: “Animals are his life and his love”.
Vardy, 59, had been feeding the horses, but at a time when he had personal difficulties, the feeding regime had “fallen down”. He had been involved with horses all his life and the neglect had not been deliberate.
“Perhaps he has been unable to ask for help before, being a proud man, having the knowledge and expertise he has,” said Mr Welford.
Vardy, a self-employed builder of Leven Road, Dringhouses, York, pleaded guilty to two charges of neglecting a named horse, failure to provide suitable living conditions for the 22 horses and failure to protect all 22 from pain, injury or disease. He said he was currently unemployed without income.
Magistrates ordered him to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and banned him from keeping, transporting or trading horses for seven years.
Ownership of the surviving 20 horses and all other horses that were still in Vardy’s possession and not already confiscated by the RSPCA was taken away from him and given to the animal charity, which brought the case.
The court also ordered him to pay the charity’s costs of £113,154.16 including more than £100,000 in horse livery charges run up by the RSPCA in caring for the animals until the case was concluded.
The horses were confiscated in June last year. The case was delayed for several months because Vardy originally pleaded not guilty and the case had to be adjourned for trial.
Towards the end of the hearing, Vardy told a probation officer he was not guilty, but magistrates did not allow him to change his plea. Outside court, Vardy told The Press he intended to appeal to the crown court.
In court, Mr Welford read out references from a former manager of the RSPCA animal home in York and a vet based near Malton, both of whom wrote that they had known Vardy for many years and were impressed by the way he cared for his horses and other animals.
The solicitor also said the RSPCA intended to put down the remaining horses.
The Press understands they are so wild they cannot be rehomed, but Vardy maintains he can handle them.