Collar cut so deep it was like the pony's throat was slashed

A man who failed to adjust a young pony’s head collar, resulting in an injury so severe it looked like her throat had been slashed, was disqualified from keeping animals for three years. 

The dun filly, approximately 12-hands-high was running loose in an area in which horses are often tethered. The filly had snapped her tether chain and was still wearing the collar section of the chain around her neck.

The man responsible for her claimed that he'd been unable to catch her. The area was not secure, giving the pony access to a road.

Collar caused deep cuts and infected wounds 

Filly had a neck collar so tight it cut into her neck © RSPCA

Just by looking at the filly from a distance it was apparent that the head collar was very tight. Upon closer inspection, a significant wound on the underneath of her neck could be seen. 

It looked like the collar had 'garrotted' into the throat area and there were either clumps of fur or flesh hanging down from the throat area.

The pony was sedated to allow a vet to examine her.

The filly had significant wounds around her neck where the tether chain had cut into the flesh. The wounds were bleeding, with puss and discharge matting into the surrounding hair, and also a pungent smell suggesting an infection.

Down the sides of her face were significant marks where the chain had rubbed the skin. It was possible to make out the pattern of the individual chain links where they had pressed so tightly against her head, wearing away the hair before starting to break through the skin.

The worst wound was around her throat where some areas were 15mm deep, but there was also damage to the sides of her head and a further deep wound across the top of her head, just behind her ears.

The two ends of the chain sprung apart with quite some force

When the chain was cut with bolt cutters it literally pinged apart from where it had been under such great tension.

The top of the chain that sat just behind the ears and poll was covered with a rubber material (possibly part of a bicycle inner tube). This had spread the pressure in this area somewhat so that the individual links had not made quite such deep penetration into the skin, but it still left a large, foul smelling open wound approximately 10 millimetres deep.

The total chain length measured 59 centimetres whilst the filly’s neck measured 68 centimetres.

Back to health and a new home found 

Filly had a neck collar so tight it cut into her neck © RSPCA

The filly required extensive care, so police took her into possession. The owner signed her over into our care as he was unable to afford the veterinary treatment. 

Her wounds healed and she was calm and quiet on handling. Renamed Pandora, she was eventually restored to a normal condition and rehomed by World Horse Welfare.

Tethering equines is not usually a desirable option. Where there is no choice but to tether, those responsible must take extra care to ensure that the animal is regularly checked and its needs are met in every way.


  • Investigating officer: RSPCA Inspector Penny Baker
  • Defendant: Male 41, tiler
  • Offence: Animal Welfare Act 2006 s4
  • Plea: Guilty
  • Conviction: One
  • Sentence: Disqualified from keeping animals for three years; 180 hours unpaid work; £300 costs.
  • Prosecuted by: Trethowans Solicitors
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