Cruelty To Ponies At Denaby Colliery

June 1886

Mexborough & Swinton Times, June 4th, 1886.

Cruelty To Ponies At Denaby Colliery

Patrick Sullivan, a driver, was charged with cruelly ill-treating a pony at Denaby Main Colliery on May 7th.

Mr. Hickmott prosecuted in behalf of the colliery company, and said he thought a penalty would scarcely meet the justice of the case, and asked that, if he proved sufficient to justify a conviction, the defendant should be sent to prison.

The facts were that the defendant on the day in question was driving a pony named Salt. Attached to the pony was a train of eight empty corves, A proper train for the pony would have been two, but Salt tried to pull eight.

A youth named Henry Sellars saw, the defendant thrashing the pony, and spoke to him, and told him to take Salt off and get a bigger horse named Fiddler if he wanted to remove the eight corves together.

Defendant replied that he should not, but he would make Salt pull them. Defendant commenced to whip the pony, and struck it on the legs and body about eight or nine times. He also struck it on the head with the whip. The pony began to struggle and appeared to be in great pain, and in struggling it caught the chain attached to the corves and fell. Defendant rushed at, it again, and dealt the animal four or five more blows on the head. Sellars called out to the defendant to ‘give over,’ and the defendant refused. He then went up to the defendant, and tried to stop him from ill-treating the pony, and took the whip from him. He examined the pony, and felt something like the white of an egg coming from the pony’s right eye, which had been blinded. Sellars told defendant he ought to be ashamed of himself for having blinded the pony, and the defendant said ‘It served the – right.’

Henry Sellars incline-man gave evidence that about 8 o’clock on the night of May 7th he was at the top of No. 10 ginney and saw the defendant driving the pony Salt. He had it attached to a train of eight empty corves. A proper train for the pony was two corves.

Witness related what transpired corroborating the statements of Mr. Hickmott saying that after the defendant struck the pony on the head with the whip, the pony threw itself down and whilst it was on the floor the defendant trashed it on the head with the whip. He struck it four or five times. Witness called out, but the defendant refused to give-over, saying he would make the pony pull the corves. Witness tried to stop defendant and struggled with him when he took the whip away. He told the defendant he had blinded the pony and that he ought to be ashamed of himself. In reply to the magistrates Mr. Hickmott said the defendant had worked in the pit two years and behaved himself properly.

Mr. W. H. Chambers gave evidence that the pony, before it was ill-treated, was worth £13, but in its injured state the value was only £4. The defendant had been employed at the pit about two years. They had very great difficulty in finding out who ill-treated those ponies, and it was not very often they were able to do so. Mr. Hickmott asked that an example should be made of the defendant and that he should be sent to prison.

The Chairman said it was a brutal case, and the defendant was liable to a penalty of £5 or to be sent to the House of Correction for three months. This was the defendants first offence and his employer had given him a good character. If his master had not given him a good character they would have sent him to prison for a long period, as he deserved to be, they would fine him 40s. including costs, or one month’s imprisonment.