Eugeni Sanchez stood trial in Palma last May. | V.M.


Animal rights groups across the Balearics yesterday welcomed the eight-month sentence which has been handed down to the owner of a champion trotting horse which he beat to death after the animal lost a race.

Eugeni Sanchez stood trial for the death of his horse Sorky d’as Pont back in May, and the judge rejected substituting the sentence with community service and/or a fine, meaning that Sanchez has become the first person in Spain to be jailed for mistreating an animal.

During the sentencing, the judge said that there was no question of any doubt that an unnecessary amount of violence was used to brutally beat the animal which led to great suffering for the animal and its subsequent death.

Sanchez did admit to the charge, but claimed that he loved his horse. However, the judge was adamant. “The atrocious death of this horse in its own stables is something which does not happen in the 21st century and has provoked indignation in the Balearic population,” the judge said. “Hence why I am handing down this sentence and not letting the culprit off with community service or a fine,” he added.

The judge also said that he hopes this case will act as a warning to other animal owners and be a clear indication that the courts will come down hard on any one found responsible of mistreating an animal.

Sorky d’as Pont was a six-year-old Minorcan trotter and was very popular with racing fans on the island, especially in Manacor where the horse was stabled. During its racing career, it won 24 races, most of them in Minorca, generating some 5,000 euros in winnings for the owner.

Local animal rights groups have praised the judge and also called for stricter controls over trotting races and how the horses are looked after and prepared.