31 horses rescued from ‘dilapidated’ stables: owner convicted of cruelty *Warning: upsetting footage*

An owner who left 31 Arabs in “squalid” stables, some so “crippled” with lameness that they had to be put down, has been banned form keeping all animals for 10 years.

Nicola Haworth, 58, of Jubilee Lane, Blackpool, was convicted of offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide a suitable environment for the Arabs under the Animal Welfare Act at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday (8 July) in her absence.

The Arabs were rescued in September last year in a multi-agency operation involving police, vets and welfare charities.

RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson said: “There were 31 horses in dilapidated stables which had not had the doors opened in months, some of which had to be forced open with a hammer and screwdriver.

“Dirty bedding was stacked halfway up the doors and once opened they wouldn’t close again because so much muck spilled out.”

The inspector said some horses were found with such crippling lameness from overgrown hooves that their legs were “shaking with pain”.

“They were unable to step down off the pile of muck out of their stables. One collapsed as it reluctantly made its way off,” said the inspector.

*Warning: upsetting image*

“Of these horses six were put to sleep on veterinary advice to end their suffering straight away. Since then a further five have been put to sleep on welfare grounds. In total 24 horses were caused unnecessary suffering as a result of lack of attention to their feet and teeth.”

The inspector thanked World Horse Welfare, HAPPA, Redwings, Bransby Horses, the vets and police who assisted.

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“I want to thank those who have offered to help – we will be taking many of you up on it – as we work with breed-specific organisations and experienced owners to find homes for the surviving horses,” said the inspector.

In mitigation the court heard that Haworth was suffering from mental health issues.

Haworth was sentenced in her abensce on Tuesday (9 July) receiving a ban from keeping all animals for 10 years, with no appeal for five years. She was given a six-month curfew order between 8pm and 6am, ordered to pay costs of £4,000 and a £85 victim surcharge. The 20 remaining horses will now pass into the care of the RSPCA.

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