A HELENSBURGH man tried to tell a court he could look after horses better than a professional.

But Perparim Tahiraj's claims were rejected this week as he was found guilty of neglecting five horses in a field near the town.

Tahiraj, 49, failed to get veterinary assistance for the animals, whose condition was previously described as “one of the worst” investigators had ever seen.

A vet told the final day of his trial on Tuesday that, in her opinion, all five horses, Al, Africa, Cinderella, Song, and Tia, were under-fed and that they were suffering from painful skin conditions.

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Tahiraj, who defended himself, had denied committing two offences under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

But after listening to three days of evidence, Sheriff John Hamilton convicted Tahiraj on both charges.

Following the verdict, Tahiraj, who is originally from Kosovo, was banned from keeping any equine animals for a period of five years.

Sentence was deferred for six months, meaning if he stays out of trouble for that period of time, he will likely face no further punishment.

READ MORE: Man denies neglecting five horses in field near Helensburgh

Veterinary surgeon Ailidh Alvim, from McKenzie Vets in Alexandria, who examined the horses in December 2018, told the court: “Most of the problems would have been caused by negligence.

“The environment they were found in was inadequate. It was not an appropriate place to keep horses.

“[The field] was next to a main road, there was poor grazing available, and more mud than grass.

“The horses had not been fed enough for their nutritional needs.”

She also claimed that Tahiraj had failed to ensure their hooves were correctly looked after.

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Dr Alvim added: “My opinion was that the horses’ feet were overgrown. They were not curving round as you see in extreme conditions, but they were in need of seeing a qualified farrier.”

She also gave the horses poor ‘body conditioning scores’ of just two out of nine, where one is emaciated, and nine being obese.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Tahiraj revealed he at one time owned a staggering ten horses which he kept in a field at Blairvadach in Shandon.

He also told Sheriff Hamilton that he could do a better job than professional farriers as he had “cared for horses since he was four”.

Tahiraj, of Williamson Drive, also claimed that he had bought some skin cream for the horses, but Dr Alvim said this wouldn’t have been effective, and he should have contacted a vet.

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Addressing Tahiraj directly, Sheriff John Hamilton told him: “Having listened to the evidence, I accept the evidence of the Crown witnesses, but not yours.

“They gave a clear and consistent account of the opportunities you were given to look after the horses.

“The state of all the horses had so declined that the SSPCA had to take steps. I do not accept your account.”

Following the sheriff’s verdict, it was disclosed that Tahiraj, who is unemployed, is already using some of his benefits to pay back outstanding fines.

He also claimed he was unable to work due to various alleged health complications, including depression, anxiety, and arthritis, which meant he would be unable to complete a community payback order of unpaid work.

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