A six-year ban on keeping horses and dogs has been handed to a woman who caused suffering to more than 50 animals.

Marilyn Read, 77, of Saxmundham, Suffolk, was convicted of 29 offences for causing suffering to more than 30 horses and 20 dogs under the Animal Welfare Act.

She was sentenced on 18 February at Ipswich Magistrates Court.

The ban has a three-month suspension to give her time to rehome the animals currently in her care and she was also ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

This was the third time she has been prosecuted under the Act, having been previously convicted in 2007 and 2004 respectively .

“We are pleased that this case has now come to a resolution but at the same time disappointed that the sentencing was not stronger given this was Ms Read’s third conviction,” said World Horse Welfare officer Jacko Jackson.

In 2014, Mr Jackson and RSPCA inspector Jason Finch were called to a welfare concern for a group of ponies kept on land near a railway.

On investigating Ms Read’s premises, they found more than 30 miniature horses in a variety of sheds, barns and fields — many living up to two-feet in their own filth.

Some ponies were standing two feet deep in faecesMost of the ponies were underweight and many had badly overgrown feet, dental problems, worm burdens and eye infections.

Mares and stallions were housed next to each other, with just a small fence between them.

Vet Peter Green reportedly described the property as “massively overstocked” with ponies, lacking in adequate grazing and exercise space.

Dogs were also heard to be kept in small cages without fresh food or water.

The 35 ponies seized at the time are in the care of the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare.


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“Ponies are simply not designed to live in such close confinement and a plot of five to six acres is nowhere near sufficient to sustain upwards of 30 ponies, regardless of their size,” said Mr Jackson.

“Ms Read was offered a range of help and support from World Horse Welfare, the RSPCA and other charities but was unwilling to accept the fact she was unable to cope with the numbers of animals in her possession.

“Now that the case has concluded, the ponies can undergo intensive rehabilitation, a process which has had to be put on hold during the two years this prosecution has been ongoing.”