Two owners have been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after a foal died and seven horses were rescued from “horrendous” conditions.
Breeze, Fleur, Naomi, Peter Pan, Petronella, Gypsy and Megan were found in an emaciated state alongside the dying foal in Bradworthy, Devon, in March 2018.
Rebecca Tucker, 46, of Bradworthy, Holsworthy and 37-year-old Luke Morley, formerly of Bradworthy, but now understood to be living in the Leicester area, appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on 16 October. The defendants pleaded guilty to charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 after horses, cattle and pigs were found in “squalid” conditions and had regularly been denied access to food and water.
Between 15 February and 15 March 2018 the defendants caused unnecessary suffering to seven equines by failing to investigate and address the causes of their underweight and poor body condition and failed to investigate the lameness of Naomi.
Between 14 and 15 March 2018 the defendants caused unnecessary to a bay colt by failing to investigate and provide veterinary care for his ill health and poor bodily condition, and on or before 15 March the defendants did not take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of eight equines they were responsible for.
Tucker was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and required to carry out 180 hours’ unpaid community work. Morley was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and required to carry out 120 hours’ unpaid community work.
The court heard Morley had no experience and should have asked for help and Tucker said she was not aware of the problems as she claimed she had delegated responsibility for the horses’ care to Morley.
RSPCA inspector Suzy Hannaby, who investigated, said: “These horses were some of the thinnest I have ever seen and would not have survived much longer without our intervention.
“However once in our care they quickly gained weight just from a routine worming programme and being given an appropriate diet. They have all now made a full recovery and will be rehomed.”
Three people have been banned from keeping equines and one also sent to prison
The owner ignored concerned neighbours’ pleas
Get a half price subscription to Horse & Hound ahead of Black Friday
The inspector said the transformation of the horses since they had been rescued was “miraculous”.
“I honestly couldn’t believe some were the same horses. I was amazed to see what a difference had been made in such a short space of time.”
Both Tucker and Morley were each ordered to pay costs of £120 and a £150 victim surcharge.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.