1896: Cruelty to a Barge Horse

From the Swindon Advertiser, Saturday 8th February 1896

William Rice, a bargeman, of Chalford, Gloucester, was charged with cruelty to a horse by working it in an unfit state at Swindon, on January 10th; and Fred Dixon, a barge “captain”, of 6, King Street, New Swindon, was charged with causing the cruelty.

Mr. A. Bartholomew, the local inspector of the R.S.P.C.A. prosecuted, and called George Pounds, baker, of Regent Street, New Swindon, who said he saw the horse drawing a boat along the canal. When close to the Golden Lion Bridge, the horse fell down, and lay there groaning and breathing heavily. He considered it cruel to work the animal, and he sent for a policeman.

P.C. Elkins gave corroborative evidence, and said the horse was in a very poor state.

Inspector Bartholomew said the horse and boat belonged to Messrs. Gerrish and Co., of Bath, but it was in the sole charge of the defendants. When he saw the animal it was in a very weak condition, and was still totally unfit for work.

Mr. W. J. Ainsworth, secretary and manager to the Canal Company, said he had seen the horse several times. When defendants first had the animal it was in a very fair condition, but now it was very emaciated, and totally unfit for work.

The Bench convicted, and fined Rice 10s. They considered Dixon's case was the worst, and he would have to pay £1 and 12s 6d costs.