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Woman sentenced after two emaciated ponies and newborn foal put down

Two collapsed, emaciated ponies, along with the premature foal to which one had given birth, had to be put down to end their suffering in a “tragic” welfare case.

Sara Leanne Turner, 36, of Silwood Drive, Branford, was banned from keeping equines for 10 years, at Bradford Magistrates’ Court on 24 November, after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two mares by failing to investigate and address the cause of the ponies’ poor bodily condition and weight loss.

**Warning: upsetting image**

The court heard the RSPCA rescued the ponies, named Blue and Willow, in April from a yard at Fagley Road, Bradford, following a call raising concerns about their welfare.

An RSPCA spokesman said on arrival, the charity’s inspectors David Holgate and Kris Walker found the piebald cobs collapsed. One of them had just delivered a premature foal, which had to be put down by a vet shortly afterwards.

Mr Walker said Blue was in an emaciated condition, with her spine, pelvis and ribs visible.

“Blue gave birth to a premature foal but had managed to get to her feet with assistance from the vet and members of the public,” he said.

“The stables were dirty and there was rubbish and hazards covering most of the area. Willow was found collapsed in a stable to the right of the yard and was also in poor body condition.”

Mr Walker said it was “distressing” to see Blue and Willow “in such a poor state”.

“They were taken to a boarding yard but sadly their condition worsened and it was decided that the kindest thing to do was to put them to sleep to end their suffering,” he said.

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“This was a sad case with a tragic outcome resulting in the death of three ponies.”

In mitigation the court heard Turner was struggling with financial difficulties and had entered an early guilty plea.

Turner was sentenced to a 12-month community order for 250 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £85. She was also banned from owning equines for 10 years and cannot appeal to have her ban lifted for three years.

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