Cruelty to a horse

Hertfordshire Mercury ,15th May 1915


At Hertford Borough Sessions William Thurston, a travelling showman, and Moses Jones, one of his employees, were summoned for cruelty to a horse at Hertford on April 25.  Neither of the defendants appeared.  Mr Thurston wrote a letter to the Magistrates, stating that he was unable to appear owing to being so far away.  He said he was sorry it had happened, and that he had only had the horse five days.  As he had had the horse destroyed he hoped the magistrates would overlook the matter this time.

Mrs Charles Leslie, of Hertingfordbury, stated that as she was coming from church on the Sunday morning in question she saw some travelling shows passing through the village.  She noticed the horse in question tied to the rear of a van, and the poor thing could hardly walk; it was walking on its heels.  She telephoned to the police at Hertford asking them to stop it, as it was a dreadful case of cruelty.

P.C. R.G. Crisford said he was in the Hertingfordbury Road at 12.45 on Sunday, April 25, when he saw a number of travelling show vans.  A brown mare was tied to the third van.  It was very lame on both fore feet, and was practically being dragged along.  He called the driver’s attention to it.  The man said he knew nothing about it, and told him to see the ‘guv’nor’, who was in front.  He saw William Thurston, the owner, and told him the mare would have to be stabled.  He remarked: ‘All right; I didn’t know it was lame when we left St Albans’.  He said he had only had it five days, and gave £5 for it.  After putting it in the Cold Bath stables the witness saw Inspector Ellis, of the R.S.P.C.A., in whose presence the defendant Jones admitted that he knew the horse was lame.

Inspector S.H. Ellis said the mare was pointed out to him by the last witness.  It was an aged brown mare, and was very lame on both fore feet, suffering from ringbone.  It was totally unfit for travelling.  He saw Mr Thurston, and he said he had not worked the mare, as he knew she was not fit for work.  He said to him: ‘You could not expect to get a sound horse for £5 ?’ and Mr Thurston replied: ‘I knew she was not sound.  I knew she was shuffling in front’.

Mr W.W. Golding, who examined the mare two days later, said it was then in a very bad condition, incurably lame, and on his advice it was destroyed.

The Bench fined Thurston £5 and £1 5s. costs, and ordered Jones to pay 4s. costs.  The Mayor thanked Mrs Leslie for coming forward and giving evidence as she had done.

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