Man pleads guilty to causing suffering to 13 horses at Dartford Magistrates Court

PUBLISHED: 18:00 27 May 2014

Picture: PA/Sean Dempsey

Picture: PA/Sean Dempsey

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A man admitted to causing unneccessary suffering to 13 horses in his care, eight of which died as a result.

William Cook, of Lombard Street, Horton Kirby, pleaded guilty to 18 separate charges under the Animal Welfare Act at Dartford Magistrates Court on May 22.

Cook was found to have failed in providing a suitable environment, diet and worm control for the horses as well as causing them suffering by failing to investigate their poor body conditions and mouth ulcers.

He was banned from keeping horses for 10 years and given a 24 week suspended sentence. He was also ordered to pay £24,656 and a victim surcharge of £80.

RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby said: “This was a shocking case of horse neglect, and one where many different horses were left to suffer - many of them eventually dying.

“The suffering was incredibly severe and yet the owner was just doing nothing to provide for their needs or their most basic care. Owning a horse is a responsibility and a privilege and one he was just not taking on.

“Although the scale of this particular case was extreme, it is sadly not unusual to find horses left to suffer in this way. It is a crisis we face on a national scale, but the issues seem particularly bad in this area of the country.”

One of the surviving horses, a chestnut Welsh mountain pony named Lily, is available for rehoming.

Anyone interested should call 0300 123 8877 or email

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Gravesend Reporter. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Gravesend Reporter