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Convictions spark row around Showjumping Ireland committee member

A welfare group has criticised the appointment of a woman with convictions for animal cruelty to the Irish showjumping association.

Aldyth Roulston, from Donemana, Co Tyrone, was voted on to the Ulster committee of Showjumping Ireland (SJI) on Tuesday, 22 January.

But a number of readers have contacted H&H to say her election should have been blocked because of her past convictions.

Ms Roulston was found guilty of eight counts of animal cruelty at Livingston Sheriff Court in West Lothian, Scotland, in November 2004.

She was caught selling puppies and kittens from the boot of her car in lay-bys and car parks around western Scotland, where she was living at the time.

The court was told Ms Roulston had shown a “callous disregard” for the welfare of the animals, some of which died shortly after they were bought.

David Wilson of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) said Ms Roulston’s appointment to the SJI committee sent out “a deplorable message”.

He added: “We would have thought any organisation purporting to have animal welfare at its heart would satisfy itself that no member who could have any influence in the organisation would have a conviction for animal cruelty.”

Ms Roulston is understood to own ponies that compete in affiliated showjumping.

A spokesman for SJI told H&H: “While we would never condone any act of animal cruelty, Aldyth Roulston was elected to the Ulster Region of Showjumping Ireland by the SJI members at the Ulster region AGM on Tuesday, 22 January without any objection from the floor.”

Ms Roulston could not be reached for comment.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (14 February 2013)

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