A PUB boss who neglected to care for four goats which lived at his establishments has avoided a ban on him keeping animals.

Darren Turner faced disqualification from having livestock after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the beasts, which had to be put down.

But the boss of four pubs in Old Town and Wroughton avoided the ban when he launched an appeal against his sentence at Swindon Crown Court.

The 41-year-old will still have to do unpaid work even though he claimed he was too busy with his seven-day-a-week job.

Graham Gilbert, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the goats were part of a menagerie at The Clifton, in Old Town, before being moved to the Fox and Hounds, Wroughton.

He said when a vet saw the four goats in April 2015 she was immediately concerned for their hooves, though they were otherwise in good health.

Their feet were not entirely normal, he said, and she discussed the long term prognosis for them with Turner, saying the hooves needed to be regularly trimmed.

The following months she wrote him a letter outlining the long term options for the animals, including the possibility of them being put down if it got worse.

Mr Gilbert said the vet said she lost contact with Turner after July 2015 and in October she was at the Fox and Hounds, not to visit the goats, when she spotted them.

"It appeared the goats' feet had deteriorated," he said, and though she called Turner and left a voicemail, he did not get back to her.

In January last year an RSPCA officer saw the goats had an odd gait and because of the impact the hooves were having on the quality of their lives they were destroyed.

The legs were then removed and sent to an expert who said the hooves were severely overgrown to a worrying degree, and curling up on themselves.

In at least two he said there were pathological fractures and also had problems with their knees.

"He concluded the goats were clearly in pain and that would have been entirely apparent to anyone who saw them from their gait," he said.

When he was interviews by RSPCA officers in January last year he accepted he knew their hooves needed to be trimmed regularly.

"He said the last thing he wanted was for the goats to suffer in any way, or for them to be put down," he said.

Turner, who gave an address of The Kings, on Wood Street, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animals between the start of December 2015 and January 20 last year.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client had got the animals, which had issues with their legs and feet when he got them, as part of a sort of petting zoo at his pubs.

He said he never intended to cause any harm to them but accepted for a short period of time he neglected to look after them properly.

Turner now employed two people full time to look after the animals, he said, and had also spent £40,000 to care for them.

And he said because of the nature of his work running four pubs he would struggle to find the time co complete any unpaid work.

Recorder Patrick Clarkson QC, sitting with two magistrates, said they would not ban him from keeping animals as recent inspections had not raised any welfare issues.

Ordering Turner to do 80 hours of unpaid work, he said: "At the end of the day these unfortunate animals, albeit with a pre-existing condition we accept, they suffered therefore the appropriate severity of sentence is required."