‘I have never seen a horse this underweight still standing’: owner fined for leaving horse to starve

  • A woman has been ordered to pay £1,160 after her horse was found starving and later died.

    Ann Quinn, 61, of Ashley Avenue, Bolton, had kept her veteran thoroughbred gelding, Mikey, at a farm in Bacup.

    He was found in an emaciated state by RSPCA officers, but despite their advice, Quinn did not improve her care of the horse.


    “Mikey was found to be in very poor condition with his ribs, spine and pelvis prominent,” said RSPCA inspector Charlotte Booker.

    “Ann Quinn had been offered advice from two vets and several RSPCA officers that Mikey should have been brought into a warm stable environment.

    “Sadly this advice was ignored.”


    The gelding had been kept on moorland, without adequate shelter and exposed to the winter conditions without a rug.

    He died 24 hours after he was removed by police and placed into RSPCA care.

    Vets concluded he had suffered with re-feeding syndrome, caused when an animal has been starved of carbohydrates and sugars, a condition that is often seen in emaciated horses.

    “I have never seen a horse this underweight still standing. It is devastating that he did not get the opportunity to be nursed back to full health,” added Ms Booker.

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    Quinn was found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate and treat the cause of Mikey’s weight loss.

    She was found guilty on 23 June, following a two-day trial at Burnley Magistrates’ Court.

    The district judge stated that Quinn had a duty to act with knowledge of a potential disease and that she had failed to address the obvious deterioration in her horse.

    Quinn was given a £600 fine, ordered to pay £500 costs and £60 victim surcharge.

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