A FIFTY nine year old man from Shetland’s west side was lucky not to be sent to jail when he appeared before Lerwick Sheriff Court charged with serious animal neglect.
David Davies, of Grindibrek, Skeld, had previously pled guilty to failing to provide adequate food, fresh water, shelter and veterinary care for two Shetland ponies in a field in Cunningsburgh between 1 June and 7 December last year.
The case came to light when one of the two ponies died of malnutrition and lice infection in December of last year.
In court on Thursday, Sheriff Philip Mann sentenced Davies to 180 hours of unpaid work and banned him from owning and keeping any animals except dogs for ten years.
In mitigation the court heard from defence solicitor Tommy Allan how his client had struggled to cope with difficult personal circumstances in that he had to look after three children and a wife who were heavily dependent on him.
“It was a fairly desperate time for Mr Davies and something had to give and clearly it was the ponies,” the solicitor said.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Davies should have been able to rectify the situation as he received offers of help from other people.
Allan said his client accepted that he should have sought help and had repeatedly expressed his remorse for what had happened.
The sheriff described the charges as “particularly serious” and “of the kind that would amply merit a custodial sentence”.
He added however that he was persuaded that nothing would be gained from sending Davies to jail, as it would have a devastating impact on his family.
Instead he imposed a community payback order and told Davies that he had to complete the 180 hours of unpaid work over the next nine months.
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