Sanctuary owner banned

  • A woman who spent her life rescuing abandoned animals has been banned from keeping horses for 10 years

    Magistrates have banned a Cornish woman suffering from multiple sclerosis from keeping horses and large animals for 10 years.

    Christine Westwood’s property in Luxulyan, Cornwall, was visited by RSPCA inspector Rob Skinner earlier this year.

    During an inspection of the property the inspector found a dead dog, five underweight horses with overgrown hooves and a severely arthritic dog chained inside a caravan.

    Five horses and a dog were seized from the property, but 60 sheep, ponies, goats, cats, other dogs and poultry were allowed to remain.

    Two Thoroughbreds were found suffering from severe injuries on their withers, chest and legs caused by poorly fitting rugs, which had become embedded in their skin.

    Inspector Rob Skinner said: “Removing their rugs was very difficult, they had to be peeled off which was very painful for the horses.”

    He also noted that Ms Westwood had several overweight sheep with feet that needed attention.

    East Cornwall Magistrates heard how Christine Westwood, 44, was devoted to her animals, but poor health, limited money and severe weather conditions had taken their toll.

    Ian Mowbray, chairman of the magistrates said he accepted that Ms Westwood’s cruelty had not been intentional and was the result of neglect.

    He went on to say: “With the deterioration of your health and the conditions we witnessed, it’s appropriate that we disqualify you from keeping all animals, except dogs, cats and fowl for a period of 10 years.”

    Under veterinary advice the dog was put to sleep as it was in considerable pain. Four of the horses went on to make good recoveries and have since been rehomed.

    An elderly Thoroughbred mare failed to respond to treatment and the decision was made to end her suffering.

    Speaking after the hearing Rob said: “I was concerned over Caroline’s physical and financial capabilities to care for her animals.”

    “It is a shame that someone who has devoted their life to caring for animals should reach this point, but I believe that welfare centres need to be licensed to stop this happening in the future.”

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