Members of the Arab horse world are outraged over the fate of 12 horses that were put down after being seized by the RSPCA.
Earlier this month (2 September) Rachelle Peel, 56, formerly of Slaidburn, Lancs, but now living in a caravan in Tosside, was convicted of four offences of failing to meet the needs of animals in her care.
One concerned the environment in which four dogs were kept, and three were in relation to 11 horses, regarding environment and the lack of hoof care they received.
The horses were found living among six dead equines as well as skeletons.
She appeared at Blackburn Magistrates Court and was given a two-year ban from keeping horses.
She was also fined £2,200 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.
The RSPCA was called by HAPPA (the Horses and Ponies Protection Association) on 20 March 2013.
An inspector attended, and 31 live horses were removed over the following two days.
“Twenty horses were signed over to the RSPCA, 14 of which were taken on by the RSPCA and six by HAPPA,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
“Twelve of the 14 that were taken on by the RSPCA were put to sleep. Two of the horses were rehomed.”
Four of those taken to HAPPA were also put down.
“The RSPCA’s equine rehoming experts did assess the welfare and temperament of the horses,” added the spokesman.
“Some of the horses were euthanised on veterinary advice, but others were put down because there was no realistic prospect of them being rehomed. Regrettably, there were no viable alternatives available at the time.”
The Arab Horse Society (AHS) said it “made considerable efforts” to communicate with the RSPCA when the Peel horses were taken into the charity’s care but “no information was forthcoming”.
“The AHS had offers from members, breeders and former owners of Peel horses, anxious to rehome them, but the RSPCA would not enter into any discussion regarding the horses,” said a statement.
However, a spokesman for the RSPCA told H&H: “We have not been contacted at any time by anyone claiming ownership of them, or by anyone claiming that their horse was ‘on loan’ to the defendant.
“We did receive some calls from former owners, people who had bred the horses and sold them to the defendants, asking what had happened to specific horses, but, due to data protection, we were not able to give them any information.”
Several horrified and angry Arab breeders have also been in touch with H&H, some saying horses they bred were involved, others saying they offered to help.
Karen Dewey Mustey bred a horse that was bought by the Peels, GJK Spotted Sensation, who was later named Sydney.
“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead,” she said. “Somewhere the RSPCA needs to be held accountable.”
Breeders are also disgusted by the short length of the ban.
“It’s an unholy mess,” said fellow breeder Christine Dickinson. “The whole thing is unforgivable and a two-year ban is just pathetic.”
Ms Dewey Mustey added: “It’s horrendous, Mrs Peel should have been banned for life.”