Former veterinary nurse Toni Veitch, 42, has been banned from keeping horses for life and given a suspended prison sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to 2 horses in her care.

Phil Brown, prosecuting on behalf of the the RSPCA, said the charity had had to previously put down animals in Veitch’s care and issue animal welfare notices before she and her partner, Graham Robson were brought to justice.

Fizz's front feet

Fizz’s front feet

At York Magistrates Court last week (7 January), Veitch pleaded guilty to 2 charges of animal neglect over the death of a bay gelding called Flame and the condition of a second bay gelding called Fizz.

Veitch claimed the neglect of the 2 geldings was “out of character” and had occurred when she had been depressed and had suffered family bereavements.

But senior magistrate Ian Fithian-Franks told her: “Your culpability was high, especially as you had previously been a veterinary nurse with experience of caring for the welfare of animals.”

He said she had declared Flame was “as fit as a fiddle when clearly this was not so”.

A vet had decided the gelding was in such poor condition he had to be put down and had been suffering for 2 to 3 weeks with lice, an infection and septicaemia.

In addition to the lifetime horse ban, Veitch received a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months on condition she did 12 months supervision including a rehabilitiation course, and observe a nightly 11-hour curfew for 10 weeks.

Robson, 41, pleaded guilty to 2 animal neglect charges and was ordered to do 80 hours’ unpaid work. Both were each ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs.