Three horses put down after owner ignored laminitis advice

  • The owner of three horses who had to be put down after she ignored advice on treatment for laminitis has been banned from keeping equines for 20 years.

    The RSPCA said that by banning Claire Mason, of Magnolia Close, Drakes Broughton, Worcester, magistrates had “recognised how important it is that no other animals are made to endure the same fate” as Mason’s three mares.

    Mason, 46, appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on 19 April, having pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act at an earlier hearing.

    Mason admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide appropriate veterinary treatment for part-bred Arabs Rosie, Enrica and Fern, who were kept on a livery yard in Norton between 3 July and 14 September 2018.

    The mares were found to be “severely lame” when an RSPCA inspector attended following concerns raised about their wellbeing in May 2018.

    A spokesman for the RSPCA said despite repeated warnings from the charity and a vet, Mason failed to address the mares’ health concerns instead “choosing” to leave them to suffer.

    RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith said: “The horses were suffering from laminitis brought about by failing to treat underlying pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, also known as Cushing’s.

    “This can be managed successfully on medication alongside a well-managed diet. Sadly Mason failed to do this despite being made aware of the condition and being advised accordingly.”

    The inspector said Mason was an experienced owner who should have known how to care for horses adding this made it “even more unacceptable” that she left the mares to suffer.

    “The treatment plans and advice she’d been given were simply ignored. By banning her from keeping horses the court has recognised how important it is that no other animals are made to endure the same fate,” said Ms Smith.

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    All three mares were put down with the owner’s consent following veterinary advice owing to the severity of their condition.

    The court heard Mason had mental health problems and further mitigation was advanced on the basis that the defendant had owned horses for years, had never had any previous issues, and had “won prizes at shows”.

    Mason was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work. She was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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