Ill treatment

Hertfordshire Mercury, 12th August 1916


Thomas Hawkins, a dealer, was charged with cruelly beating a pony by striking it over the head with a board, in Hoddesdon, on 7th August.  Alfred Archer, the owner of the pony, was also charged with allowing the pony to be worked whilst in an unfit condition.

Thomas Gardener, a Special Constable of Hoddesdon, said that when near Broxbourne Station at about 6pm, he saw Hawkins strike the pony a violent blow across the head with the board, the board being produced in court.  A bystander had said he would like to treat Hawkins in the same way.  Archer, the owner, was sitting on the tail-gate of the cart and a third man was repeatedly flogging the pony.  A separate witness said that he had followed the cart to a public house and that he had then telephoned for the police.  Before a Constable arrived, however, the third man escaped by way of the back door, but the other two men were arrested.

PC Walker gave evidence of the arrest and said that in the cart he had found two whips and the seat board that he had produced.  Inspector Ellis of the RSPCA said that he had inspected the pony and found it to be in a very poor condition.  On one thigh were 15 whip marks cutting the skin.  There were several weals on the other thigh and about the body and neck, and two swellings that might have been produced by blows from the board.  There were also two sores on the shoulder.  The animal was not in a fit condition to be worked.

Hawkins said that he had fallen out of the cart, and that the board had fallen on top of the pony.  He said that that might have accounted for the witness thinking he had struck the animal with the board.  The Clerk said “And you expect the Bench to believe that?”.  Hawkins replied “Yes”.

Archer said that he considered the collar to have caused rubbing on the horse’s shoulder.

The Bench fined Hawkins 3 guineas or 28 days.  Archer was fined £2 or 25 days.

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