Gross Cruelty to a Horse at Conisborough

November 1892

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 18 November 1892

Gross Cruelty to a Horse at Conisborough

At Doncaster Riding Police Court on Saturday, before Mr. Yarborough and other magistrates, George Wagstaff, carter, residing at Conisborough was charged with cruelty ill using a horse on the 9th inst.

Mr Hattersley, of Mexborough, defendant.

PC Abbott stated that on the date named at about 8:45 AM, he went into a field in Back Lane, Conisborough, and there found an old black horse lying on its off side.

He tried to get it up, but was unable to raise it. On the other side the hair was off and the skin sore, and covered with blood. He at once fetched Mr Norwood, veterinary surgeon, who examined the animal. On the shoulder the skin was off in three places, and in two places the cuts were to the bone. He could see that the horse was lame.

Witness went to Wagstaffe’s house and told defendant about the ocurrence. Wagstaffe replied that she been taking the horse to Wellgate the previous night to drink. The animal fell down and as it could not get up again he and his two sons dragged it to the field on a gate. Witness continuing said that the horse was in a very bad condition when he saw it; it was shivering and moaning and appeared to be suffering great pain.

Answering Mr Hattersley, witness admitted that defendant said he would have the animal killed when he was told of its condition; he (defendant) expressed regret. There was a trail on the road, about hundred and 40 yards in length, which seem to indicate that they also been dragged that distance. Defendant told witness that they dragged me ask for the greater part of the road and the gate, but for a short distance without the gate.

Witness had since seen the gate, which was about 4’6” and was about half a mile from the spot where he saw the horse.

Mr Norwood, veterinary surgeon, deposed to having examined the yard. The “near” site was covered with dirt, the army evidently having fallen on that site. When you first saw the animal it was lying on its right side. On the “near” side there was nothing particular to speak about in the shape of wounds. On turning the horse over he found a number of wounds. The hair and skin were grazed off of the side. The eye was swollen and bruised. There were several other places on the right side where the hair and skin were grazed off, particularly on the shoulder and forearm. On the shoulder three of the wounds were cut through to the bone and the wounds were full of grit and dirt. The knees and fetlock were bruised and the skin was rubbed off. The animal was in a very emaciated condition, one foot been very badly cankered and was so bad that not a bit of the fleshy part was left. The horse had practically no foot; it was unfit to work.

Cross-examined by Mr Hattersley, he did not think it was inhuman to drag a horse on a gate in the absence of anything better. He advised the police constable to have it destroyed.

Mr Hattersley for the defence, said the horse in consequence of its cankered foot had not been worked for eight weeks, during which time it had been out to grass. On the night of the 8th inst, defendant took the animal to Wellgate to drink and whilst there it fell down. It was unable to rise and so they procured a gate, put the horse on it, and then got a second horse to pull it. Defendant denied that he used any other means of conveying it along the road other than those named. He also denied having admitted such to the constable. On getting the animal to the field they put a couple of sacks over it and left. It was then quite dark and they were unable to see the wounds. When defendant became aware of the injuries he did what any reasonable man would have done; he had it destroyed, and expressed his sorrow that the horse had been left in that condition. He used what he thought were the best means of conveying the animal to the field at the time.

Complainant Anderson gave evidence bearing out Mr Hattersley’s statements.

The Chairman said that the case was a very bad one, and the bench were of opinion that the animal had been treated with unnecessary cruelty.

A penalty of £5 including costs was imposed.