Woman banned from ownership after neglecting donkeys

  • A woman has been banned from keeping animals for five years after two donkeys that were “lucky to survive” were found at her farm.

    Carolyn Shires, 58, neglected the animals on her farm in Odiham, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire.

    She appeared before Aldershot magistrates court last month (1-4 September) after being found guilty of three offences under the animal welfare act.

    One of the Poitou donkeys she kept was so emaciated it was unable to stand; the other was infested with lice and had raw wounds.

    The Donkey Sanctuary supported the prosecution, brought by Hampshire Trading Standards.

    “It doesn’t get much worse than this,” said the Donkey Sanctuary’s vet Anna Harrison giving evidence in court.

    Shires’ menagerie extended to 80-100 horses, 12 donkeys, six goats, geese, pigs, birds and llamas.

    “This is a shocking case and the serious sentence reflects the extreme suffering Shires inflicted on her animals. Her two Poitou donkeys Voyou and Croissant were lucky to survive,” says Michael Crane, the Donkey Sanctuary’s head of welfare.

    Shires was banned from keeping equines, llamas, goats and pigs for five years and sentenced to a 12-month community order with 250 hours unpaid work and £5,232 costs.

    “The sentence sends a strong message that animal abuse won’t be tolerated and cases like these strengthen our resolve to fight against animal abuse wherever we find it,” added Crane.

    District Judge Philip Gillibrand said Shires had an “absurd number of animals” and “no prospect of caring for them properly.”

    He said Shires believed she was an animal lover but “was not prepared to let go” and that things were “terribly wrong” on the farm in Hampshire.

    The Donkey Sanctuary raised concerns over the welfare of the donkeys at Shires’ farm in April 2013.

    They were treated by vets appointed by the charity, but were returned to Shires’ care.

    “We would have liked the Poitous to have been relinquished into our care, but we have no power to seize animals,” a spokesman for the Donkey Sanctuary told H&H.

    “We have no knowledge of their whereabouts now.”

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