A MAN who left his pony's overgrown hooves untreated for two years has avoided conviction.
The 71-year-old appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court last week where he admitted to three charges including aggravated cruelty to an animal.
The court heard on March 13, 2019, the RSPCA attended the man's rural property in northern Victoria.
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The officer noticed the man's Shetland pony was displaying signs of pain and checks showed the horse's hooves were overgrown.
The court heard the man told the RSPCA officer there had been no treatment for the pony in the past two years.
The man said he would organise for a vet to come and treat the horse.
The RSPCA called the man twice in the ensuing weeks but did not receive a response.
The officer returned to the rural property on March 25 but the horse was still not treated.
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The Shetland pony was taken to the Bendigo Equine Hospital for treatment but the condition of its hooves was irreversible and the pony was euthanised.
The court heard the horse would have been in "severe and unrelenting pain for some time".
The RSPCA prosecutor told the court the man had "failed in his duty to take care of the animal".
The prosecutor said the man should be disqualified from owning horses for about five years.
But defence lawyer Cameron Marshall submitted that would not be an appropriate sentence.
Mr Morgan said his client had more than 50 animals at the property and the only animal of concern was the Shetland pony that was eventually euthanised.
The defence lawyer said the outcome was "unfortunate" but "not deliberate" because the 71-year-old had made attempts over the two years to treat the horse.
Mr Morgan said his client had no history of mistreating animals and that this was a "one-off situation".
Magistrate Rodney Higgins sentenced the man to a two-year good behaviour bond without conviction.
The 71-year-old was also ordered to make a $2000 donation to the RSPCA.
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