A HORSE breeder on Anglesey endured a three-year ordeal after being accused of neglecting his animals in an RSPCA prosecution.
Michael O’Neill, of Rainbow Farm, Pentraeth, had his good reputation for breeding horses damaged after he was accused of neglecting two horses back in 2007.
The drawn out legal process was further delayed in March 2009 when he collapsed during his trial in Holyhead Magistrates Court with a stroke.
Doctors wanted the case withdrawn but Mr O’Neill, who is in his 50s, was desperate to clear his name.
Last week Mr O’Neill was cleared of all the charges at Caernarfon Magistrates Court and told his reputation as a breeder was “untarnished”.
Zoe McKenna, of Rhoscefnhir, who was accused alongside him, has also had charges against her dropped.
Mr O’Neill said: “It has been very hard on me, it has been a terrible thing to go through.”
His solicitor Gareth Parry said: “This has hung over my client for three years. The judge has cleared him of all charges and told him his reputation is completely untarnished. This threatened his entire livelihood as a horse breeder, he risked bankruptcy to fight this.
“His legal costs will now be paid from the courts.”
Mr O’Neill, who is originally from Ireland, is the fifth generation of horse breeders in his family and had an excellent reputation.
In August 2007 he spent around £10,000 to buy two horses from Ireland.
They developed a bacterial infection called strangles, which causes lymph nodes around the throat to swell, forming abscesses. It also causes a loss of appetite.
Treatment of the infection is difficult but Mr O’Neill arranged care and veterinary attention.
In September he was required to return to Ireland several times as his daughter was seriously ill.
While away he arranged for Ms McKenna to keep an eye on the horses, which she did.
But when they were seen in a field near Rhostrehwfa in a poorly condition it was reported to the RSPCA, who investigated.
They believed that the collars on the horses were causing the sores and O’Neill and McKenna were accused of causing unnecessary suffering to the two horses.
Ms McKenna saw the charges dropped earlier this year.
In a statement through his solicitor, Mr O’Neill said: “I am relieved that my reputation remains untarnished and grateful for the support of my family, friends, and legal team.”
Friend Sue Rimmer said justice had been done.
He said: “We knew all along that he had not neglected his horses. Mr O’Neill was determined to clear his name and now he has. He would never mistreat any animal.”
Will the RSPCA try to justify completely ignoring the evidence from the treating vet it, on the same basis as, they did in RSPCA v Griffin case?
In Norwich in January, Judge Philip Browning was critical of the RSPCA's conduct in seizing a much-loved pony, Florry, which had been with Martin and Gina Griffin's family for 20 years. The RSPCA held Florry in an animal sanctuary for over a year, claiming that she was "emaciated". The Griffins' vet, Charlotte Mayers, made it clear from the start that vets from her practice were treating the horse, which was laminitic and needed to be kept thin for that reason. Colin Vogel, the author of the RSPCA's own veterinaray manual on horse-care supported her views. At one point the RSPCA had wanted to put Florry down, but after 15 months she was finally re-united with her owners.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/3555615/Victims-of-RSPCA-bite-back.html IN DIRE FINANCIAL TIMES, WHY IS THE TAXPAYER FINANCIALLY UNDERWRITING THIS SO CALLED "CHARITY"?