Cruelty To Pit Ponies At Denaby Main – Four Killed and 12 Maimed in Last 6 Months

December 1886

Mexborough & Swinton Times December 24, 1886

Cruelty To Pit Ponies At Denaby Main.

A pony driver named George Gee was charged with cruelly ill treating a pony on the 2nd and 6th of December.

Mr. Hickmott (instructed by the Denaby Main Colliery Company) prosecuted.

He said he appeared that day in no less than four distinct and separate cases against pony drivers, charged with cruelty to ponies under their care, and the observations he had to make would apply to all the cases. The cruelty to ponies in Denaby Main Pit had been so systematic for some time past that the company had suffered extremely so far as pecuniary loss was concerned. Numbers of ponies had been cruelly tortured, and now the company had got clear and distinct cases to bring before the Bench. They asked that the offenders might be dealt with in an exemplary manner. During the last six months four ponies had been killed through negligence, and upward of a dozen ponies had been permanently maimed by the cruelty of the drivers in whose charge they had been given. It was absolutely necessary that a certain amount of latitude should be allowed, and the company employed, so far as they knew, decent and respectable lads for the purpose.

Without reason or motive the defendant Gee had had been guilty of cruelty of a shocking nature. On the 2nd December the defendant was driving a pony named Briton, which was fastened to some corves, and which appeared to be working well. Defendant, however, took hold of the stock of his whip and was then guilty of cruelty of a revolting kind. The result was that the pony sprang forwards, tumbled against the wall and the ‘jenny,’ and almost fell to the ground owing to the intense pain caused.

A lad named Smith, who witnessed the affair, said he should report the defendant, and ultimately did so to the black-smith; but the circumstances did not come to the knowledge of the officials of the company until some days afterwards. The pony was injured, and stopped from working.

Albert Edward Smith gave confirmatory evidence.

The offence on the 6th inst.

Evidence was adduced showing that cruelty of a gross kind was inflicted by the defendant on a horse named Jolly.

The condition of both animals was spoken to by John Guest, the horsekeeper.

The Chairman said the cases were the most cruel that had been before the court for a long time, and the Bench would not be doing their duty if they did not make an example. They were only sorry, they could not order the defendant to be whipped severely with the birch rod, for a lad of his age ought to have known better than to inflict cruelty. Defendant would be remanded in custody for a week in order that his previous character might be inquired into.

Daniel M’Grah, a pony driver was charged with cruelty to a pony at Denaby on the 14th.

Wm. Kershaw, a corporal at the pit, proved that while he was in No. 38 ‘pass-by’ he saw the defendant driving two ponies named Flower and Bob. When in the act of turning the animal, through the defendant’s own carelessness, trod on his toes. Defendant thereupon picked up a wooden locker, measuring 2ft. long and 2in. thick, and struck the animal as hard as he could six or seven times on the back and sides. Kershaw shouted twice to the defendant, and he stopped the ill-treatment. The pony jumped about as if great pain.

Hy. Maybanks deposed to having seen the defendant on the same day hit the pony Bob with a locker 12in. long and 1½in. thick. He had also kicked the animal. A fine of 40s. and costs was imposed, in default a month’s imprisonment.