A Staffordshire woman and her partner have been fined for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse that fell through the floor of a wooden trailer while travelling and had to be destroyed.

Joanne Hulme and David James Wood were transporting the horse through Tunstall, Staffordshire on 11 November last year when the horse fell through the trailer floor and became trapped.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) examined the trailer and found that it was not roadworthy, was a serious threat to road safety and should not have been used on the public highway.

A prosecution was brought by Staffordshire County Council’s Animal Health Team.

Both Miss Hulme, of Woodlands Avenue, Cheddleton, and Mr Wood, of Lower Summerhill Farm, Quarnford, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the horse under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court on 22 July.

Each was fined £1000 and Mr Wood was fined an additional £200 for endangering other road users.

Staffordshire County Councillor Carol Dean said: “The trailer was obviously not fit for purpose and the couple’s irresponsible actions have ended in the death of the animal.

“We hope this sends out a strong message that treating animals in this way will not be tolerated.”

The British Horse Society has commended the council for taking this action.

Welfare executive Emmeline Hannelly, said “The work undertaken by Staffordshire County Council, VOSA and the police clearly demonstrates that the relevant organisations working together can achieve positive results against those who cause suffering to animals”.