A FATHER and son who dragged a pony beside a car, almost killing it, said they would have to move interstate because they were being “victimised”.
Andrew Christopher Cook, 33, and Zachery Hudson, 17, caused public outrage when they tied a rope around a Shetland pony's neck and dragged him almost three kilometres along a bitumen road on Christmas day.
Gatton Magistrates Court was yesterday told how several witnesses watched in horror as the pony battled to keep up with the Commodore, being driven by Cook.
Police Prosecutor senior constable Karen Hall said Hudson held the rope in his hands through an open window, while the pony was forced to run alongside the car travelling about 40kmh.
Snr Const Hall said witnesses saw the horse being dragged along “at full speed with its neck stretched” as the car made a left-hand turn onto Stevens Road at Murphys Creek.
Minutes later the horse fell onto the wet bitumen road as Cook drove at speed up a hill.
The pair fled the scene when a concerned member of the public confronted them.
The court was told the pony, later dubbed Elf by RSPCA staff, suffered significant injuries including torn and bloodied hooves, eight badly damaged joints in his fore and hind legs and severe shock.
It was originally feared Elf would have to be put down but he made a remarkable recovery after four weeks of receiving “intensive medical treatment”.
Cook and Hudson, both of Murphys Creek in the Lockyer Valley, lost their home in the floods and yesterday pleaded for leniency in their sentences, claiming they never meant to hurt the pony. Defence lawyer Brad Skuse said Cook and Hudson had suffered a lot of stress and would be relocating because they were being verbally abused by the public after news spread of their animal cruelty.
The pair pleaded guilty and Cook was sentenced to three months' jail, wholly suspended for three years while Hudson was put on two years' probation with no conviction recorded.
They were both ordered to pay each $3820 for vet bills.
RSPCA inspector Shawn Jansen said he was “extremely disappointed” in the sentence.
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