An animal owner has avoided jail after causing 'unnecessary' suffering to his pet pony. 

Raymond James Pearce was found guilty of multiple counts of animal cruelty against his pony, named Marshall, in court earlier this month.

Pearce, 42, of Brierville Road, Stockton-on-Tees, was sentenced on February 5 at Teesside Magistrates' Court to a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Between January 18 and 24, 2023, Pearce had failed to provide adequate and reasonable daily care or supervision for his cob-type pony at fields on Milburn Crescent and Norton Grange/Blue Hall Fields, Norton, Stockton-on-Tees.

As part of his sentence, he must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

The severe lack of care resulted in untreated and infected wounds on Marshall's neck.

In addition to his suspended sentence and unpaid work requirements, Pearce was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154 and costs of £780, totalling £934, which must be paid by February 20.

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The court also imposed a 10-year ban on Pearce from owning, dealing with, keeping or transporting any animals.

An application for termination of the order can be made after 5 years.

He was also required to pay £2,200 legal costs to the RSPCA.