Wales

Vale of Glamorgan horse man Tom Price guilty of cruelty

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Media captionTom Price was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to 18 horses by magistrates in Cardiff

A Vale of Glamorgan horse trader who has hundreds of Gypsy Cob ponies has been found guilty of 57 animal welfare and cruelty charges.

Tom Price, 48, from Wick, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to 18 horses by magistrates in Cardiff.

The animals were found at five different south Wales locations, including 12 "left to die" in a Bridgend barn.

He will be sentenced in July, following the RSPCA prosecution.

Two of his sons, Thomas Hope Price and Tony John Price will also be sentenced on the same day.

At earlier hearings, Thomas Price admitted 42 charges, including causing suffering to 18 horses, while Tony Price admitted two allegations of failing to meet welfare needs.

Their father, Tom Price, was the director of Glamorgan Horse Traders, which deals with horses across the UK, Europe and the US.

The RSPCA, which brought the cases against the Prices, estimate they have as many as 2,500 Gypsy Cob ponies.

Image caption The RSPCA say 12 of the horses were 'left to die' at a barn in Bridgend

RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil said some of the animals they found "turned out to be the most poorly and diseased horses I have come across".

"It is my belief that the 12 in the barn had been left there to die," she added.

"These horses were suffering or their needs were not being met but there are hundreds of other horses across Wales and England which may not be suffering but are just being left to illegally graze and indiscriminately breed.

Image caption One of the neglected horses rescued by RSPCA officers

"It really is a massive problem that we struggle to deal with day after day."

In November last year, Price senior was handed an anti-social behaviour order to prevent his horses fly-grazing and wandering onto roads in the Vale of Glamorgan.

He was also banned from selling or transferring ownership of a horse if his ownership details were out of date.

The RSPCA's national director for Wales Steve Carter said: "This case highlights the fact that owners need to be made accountable for their horses.

"The issues of fly grazing, abandonment and irresponsible breeding need to be addressed with strong and effective legislation."

All three members of the Price family were given bail, and will be sentenced at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 5 July.

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