Cabbie charged with having an unfit horse

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1913 court

Today at the Borough Police Court John Robinson (63), cab proprietor, 9, Belle Vue Street, was charged with having ill-treated a horse by working it in an unfit state on the South Foreshore Road.

Prisoner denied the offence, and was represented by Mr C Royle, solicitor.

Inspector Roberts (RSPCA) said he saw that the horse was very lame. When asked why he was working the animal (one of the legs was very lame) he replied: “It isn’t lame. It’s a way it has of dropping it.” Proceeding, the Inspector detailed the result of the examination he made. The horse itself was in poor condition. He had before cautioned defendant. The latter persisted in going on with the horse, and was consequently arrested. When charged prisoner said: “How could I ill-treat it?” He had added that when the officer previously stopped him he rested the horse, had had it attended to, and had sent it out to grass.

By Mr Royle: The horse had been recently shod, but corns, from which it also suffered did not cause it to go “groggy”. As a matter of fact a blacksmith, when shoeing a horse, prepared the shoe to allow for the corns. In this case there was no pressure on the corns.

PC Moore corroborated.

Replying to Mr Royle, witness said that the swelling on the off hind leg would not be due to corns.

The Inspector said that there were so many complaints as to ill-treating horses that the Society must do something.

The Chief Constable said he saw the horse and it was unfit for work. The off hind leg was swollen, it was hot, and painful, the horse flinching when it was touched. He had requested Inspector Roberts to keep such a horse out of a public carriage. The horse was in such a condition that it could not be tolerated in a public vehicle.

Asked if he wished to cross-examine the Chief. Mr Royle replied: No, his evidence is like Caesar’s wife, it is above suspicion (laughter).

Robinson, the owner and driver of the horse, said he was 63 years of age, and had driven a cab about 50 years. He had never been prosecuted before. He had had the horse out to grass at Cayton for five weeks. He got it back on Tuesday, had it shod on Thursday, and worked it on Saturday. When the officer saw witness, it was in Dean Road, and he said: “I am afraid this horse will not last the busy season, Robinson.” In consequence of that he sent the horse out to grass.

Mr Royle , addressing the magistrates, urged that Robinson had only the horse and carriage to gain his livelihood, and that he had done all he could. The case was not on the same lines as one where a man had been warned, and found working the horse the same day.

The magistrates viewed the horse in the police station yard, and on returning into court the Chairman asked if Robinson would be prepared to turn out the horse without its shoes until a week tomorrow?

Robinson replied in the affirmative.

The magistrates thereupon adjourned the case until a week tomorrow, the Inspector to report then on the condition of the horse.

The Inspector said he would like to know where the horse would be put out.

Mr TH Goode, the ex-Mayor, one of the magistrates, asked if the horse was otherwise sound – there was no infectious disease?

The Inspector: No.

Mr Good: Then I’ll tell you what you can do Robinson. You can send it up to my place, and I’ll give you a week’s run for him.

Robinson: Thank you.