A PONY starved to death and another had to be put down after they were neglected by their owner at a farm in Shebbear.
The case was brought before North Devon magistrates today where they heard three ponies had been discovered by the RSPCA at Highcroft Farm in Shebbear during October last year.
One dark bay pony mare and two chestnut pony colts were being kept in stables at the farm.
Upon arrival, RSPCA inspector Suzy Hannaby found one of the chestnut colts lying dead in its stable with the other standing over it.
John Wyatt, prosecutor for the RSPCA, told magistrates the dead pony's spine, hip bones and ribs were all prominent.
The floor of the stable was covered in faeces and a small amount of hay.
The court also heard a statement from veterinary surgeon Paul Jarvis, who said the surviving chestnut colt was emaciated and was nuzzling the dead pony.
The dark bay pony mare was being kept in a separate stable and "showed evidence of severe neglect with no access to food."
The mare was eight or nine years old, 11 hands in height, and was given a body condition score of two out of five, where one is emaciated.
There was no food or water in either stable where the ponies were being kept.
Mr Wyatt said the mare was "extremely thirsty" and, once given water, would only stop drinking after the water was removed to prevent it getting colic.
The chestnut pony colt was given a body condition rating of one out of five and was found to have a large abscess on the left side of its jaw which was infected.
Mr Jarvis said in his statement the abscess was likely to have been present for between six and eight weeks.
The dead pony was given a body condition rating of 0.5 out of five and was thought to have been dead for one or two days before it was found.
Mr Wyatt told the court the pony "suffered for several days" before its death.
The two living ponies were transferred to Mullacott Equine Hospital but the colt's abscess was so severe it had to be euthanised.
Magistrates heard the owner of the three ponies, Chelsea Jenkins, 19, had moved away to Bristol at the beginning of October.
She did not appear in court but seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to care for the needs of an animal were proven in her absence.
In interview Jenkins, of 6 Shipham Close, Bristol, admitted she was the owner of the three horses.
She alleged she had transferred care of the animals to Henry Tucker, of Little Ladford in Shebbear, who did appear in court charged with five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to care for the needs of an animal.
Tucker pleaded not guilty to the offences.
His case was adjourned for a case management hearing to take place on May 1 2012.
A warrant with bail was issued for Jenkins to appear in court for sentencing on the same date.