Hearing held into claims landau horse was punched on Blackpool Promenade

The hearing was held at Blackpool Town Hall
The hearing was held at Blackpool Town Hall
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A Blackpool landau driver has been banned from operating after it was claimed he punched his horse while waiting for a fare on the Promenade.

Two witnesses complained to Blackpool Council about the incident which happened on Saturday October 6 last year as the horse drawn hackney carriage stood on the rank near Madame Tussauds.

The driver was ordered to appear before the council's public protection sub-committee which revoked his licence.

One of the complainants attended the meeting to identify the driver and give evidence.

Council licensing officer Ryan Ratcliffe told the hearing two members of the public had alleged the man, who had previous convictions for violence and dishonesty, had punched and verbally abused his horse.

However the driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not have any convictions for animal cruelty.

His solicitior Ian Cobain said his client had worked with horses for more than 30 years and had held his landau driver's licence since 1988, during which time he had never committed any violent acts against a horse in his care.

Minutes from the meeting held behind closed doors on January 15 and which have only just been published, say the horse at the centre of the allegations was known to be 'head-shy'.

The minutes add this is "a term used to describe a horse that shakes its head often and when approached too closely and it was suggested that perhaps this reaction is what the complainant observed."

Character witnesses supporting the landau driver were also presented to the hearing, but councillors remained concerned "about such a display of violence and verbal abuse in a crowded public setting and the use of unreasonable force by the licence holder".

They felt the safety of the public and of animals "could no longer be guaranteed".

The sub-committee agreed to revoke the licence in the interests of public safety and on the grounds the licence holder was not a fit and proper person.

An appeal may be lodged against the decision within 21 days.