TWO brothers from Andover have been banned from keeping horses for five years after Shetland ponies in their care were left unable to walk.

Matthew Twigg, 56, of Walworth Road, was also given a custodial sentence of five weeks suspended for 12 months.

His brother, David Twigg, 47, was ordered to do 65 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the ponies.

The brothers were also ordered to pay £2,726.94 in costs.

Both the ponies had to be put down.

RSPCA inspector Will Hendry visited the house on 9 September, 2013 after concerns were raised about the ponies – a 25-year-old male grey Shetland called Merlin and a 15-year-old female grey Shetland called Hobby.

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court was told that when Merlin was examined by a farrier and a vet he was found to be in such severe pain that he had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

X-rays later showed that the pedal bone in each of his feet had started to disintegrate due to chronic laminitis.

Hobby was taken to an equine hospital the next day where she showed signs of extreme pain in all four feet.

Her X-rays also showed that the pedal bones had rotated and started to disintegrate and so she was put to sleep to end her suffering.

Mr Hendry said: “The situation for the ponies when we got to their stable was hopeless.

“They had been suffering chronically for up to five years and yet nobody, either within the family or without, thought to get them any help or pain relief.”