Two neglected horses seized by an animal welfare charity last year have been put down on the advice of a vet.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals PCA said it made the “humane decision” to put down former carriage horses Charlie and Arthur last week after years of neglect left them with severe dental problems.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “It is with great sadness that, under veterinarian advice, the humane decision was made to euthanise Charlie and Arthur on Tuesday, January 9.

The emaciated horses were owned by Calix Darrell and were seized from his property in October last year.

It was later revealed that Mr Darrell had been banned from owning animals for five years in 2006 after admitting cruelty charges.

The SPCA said it was warned when the horses were examined that Charlie, in particular, was at great risk of his jaw breaking because of extensive dental infection.

The spokeswoman added: “An equine dental specialist visiting Bermuda in October confirmed there was nothing that could be done to prevent the inevitable continued deterioration.”

The SPCA added that Charlie’s health declined and the weight he had gained in foster care started to drop off because he had difficulty eating.

He stopped eating solid food on January 8 and vet Lucy Richardson “confirmed that the time had come”.

Dr Richardson said: “After several months involvement with these horses, and collaboration with other professionals, it was clear that Charlie’s quality of life was diminishing due to chronic pain. The difficult decision to put him to sleep was therefore taken.”

The SPCA spokeswoman added that because Arthur was so attached to Charlie, it would be cruel to separate them and keep Arthur after the loss of his companion.

She said: “The difficult decision was made to euthanise them both. A post-mortem examination revealed that Arthur’s teeth had also deteriorated and he must have been in discomfort as well.”

The SPCA said the goal had been to give “these lovely, old horses the best possible retirement for as long as they remained pain free, without unmanageable deterioration, filled with unlimited grass and hay, good food, love and kindness”.

It added: “Arthur and Charlie became part of a very loving and dedicated family. In addition to their foster family and friends, all donors, volunteers and staff were invited to come and spend time with them.

“Their last few days were filled with visits from friends and donors and as much apple sauce, bran mash, molasses and other soft foods and treats as they could consume.

“Their last day was sunny and relaxed and, as a final gift from their foster family, there was no trailer ride to the dump for them, which is the fate of most horses on the island.

“They were calmly put to sleep, surrounded by people who loved them, and buried on the property where they had spent their last, happy months, cared for devotedly by their foster family.

“The SPCA is eternally grateful for the donations that were sent in for Arthur and Charlie, which assisted considerably in the feeding of the horses.

“Notably, the foster family covered the majority of additional costs.”

Although the SPCA did not name Mr Darrell, it revealed in November last year that, although he could not face criminal charges, he had signed a “legally binding agreement” to stop him, or anyone living on his land, from owning animals on it during his lifetime.

By News Staff The Royal Gazette