§ MR. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanark, N.W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been directed to the following paragraph in the Daily Graphic of 15th April:—Cruelty to Pit Horses.—A haulier, named Evans, engaged in a pit belonging to Messrs. Davis & Son, Ferndale, was charged at Ystrad Police Court yesterday with cruelty. Engaged at night, he had to drive a horse which had been worked during the day by another haulier. Defendant remarked that the horse seemed stubborn and would not do its work, whereupon he struck it several times with a sprag, causing serious swelling. The unfortunate horse had had only two hours' rest between the two shifts. A fine of £2 19s., including costs, was inflicted;and if it is possible to inflict heavier penalties in these cases?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS,) Birmingham, E.
I have obtained a Report from the Justices on this case. They were inclined to believe that the defendant struck the horse once only with the sprag, as only one mark of a blow was proved. The horse was not disabled in any way. The defendant bore a good character, and there was no complaint against him of having ill-used an animal previously. The Justices consider that the sentence erred, if at all, on the side of severity. It was stated on behalf of the owners that the horse working for two consecutive shifts was an exceptional circumstance. The maximum fine is £5; but the Justices have the power of sentencing to three months' imprisonment.