Three-year ban for woman who kept ponies in ‘squalid’ conditions

  • A woman has been given a suspended prison sentence and has been banned from keeping equines for three years after ponies were found underweight and living in “squalid conditions”.

    Tara Sutton, 43, of Cornwall, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act when she appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 25 October.

    Eight ponies, Cherry, Tic-Tac, Millie, Benson, Cilla, Lady, and two both known as George, were found living in squalid conditions when they were rescued in Bodmin in April 2018.

    Between 18 January and 18 April Sutton failed to adequately investigate and address the poor body condition of Cherry, two Shetland ponies, George and Cilla, and a cob, George.

    Between the same dates, Sutton failed to meet the needs of nine ponies or provide them with a suitable environment.

    Four of the ponies were found to be suffering and “so underweight their bones could be seen through their skin”.

    RSPCA inspector Claire Ryder, who investigated, said: “Sutton neglected to meet the basic care needs of her horses. They were kept in wholly unsuitable housing with no forage, no food, and just a small amount of dirty water.

    “The land where they were left to graze was dangerously boggy, with ponies faced with no choice but to stand in deep mud.”

    The inspector said despite advice from the chartity and a Defra vet, Sutton continued to fail to provide appropriate care for the ponies.

    Sutton was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £300 costs. The disqualification and seizure orders on the ponies were suspended for 28 days by the court in order for Sutton to find homes for the ponies in her care.

    H&H contacted Tara Sutton for comment.

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