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British pair get 10-year ban for ill treatment of horses

Cindy at the time she was seized from the Blackpool couple. Her "after" picture is below.

Cindy at the time she was seized from the Blackpool couple. Her “after” picture is below. © RSPCA

A man and woman from Blackpool, England, have been banned from keeping horses for 10 years after admitting four charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Sabrina Willey, 35, and Phillip Adrian Gee, 45, appeared before Blackpool Magistrates Court for sentencing on Wednesday.

The pair had pleaded guilty at a hearing earlier this month to:

  • Causing unnecessary suffering to six horses by failing to investigate and address the causes of their poor body condition and weight loss.
  • Failing to meet the needs of eight horses by failing to protect them from pain, suffering, injury or disease by failing to provide internal parasite treatment.
  • Failing to meet the needs of eight horses by failing to protect them from pain, suffering, injury or disease by failing to ensure they received adequate and appropriate hoof care.
  • Failing to meet the needs of eight horses by failing to provide a suitable environment.

All horses involved were kept in a field on Skippool Road, Thornton in July and August 2012.

“This was a very frustrating case for all involved,” RSPCA inspector Mandi Taylor said.

“These horses were moved from several previous locations before eventually turning up at Skippool Road, which was equally unsuitable due to hazards like ragwort and the lack of grazing.

Cindy has benefited greatly from being wormed and fed properly.

Cindy has benefited greatly from being wormed and fed properly. © RSPCA

“We tried really hard to work with Ms Willey and Mr Gee but they continued to ignore our advice until eventually the condition of the horses deteriorated and they were removed. They had chance after chance but didn’t take them.”

The horses were seized by police on veterinary advice and placed in the care of the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare on August 21 last year.

As well as being banned from keeping horses for 10 years, Willey was given an 18-month supervision order and Gee was given a 12-month supervision order with 150 hours of unpaid work. They were deprived of the three horses not already signed over to the charities and ordered to pay £1000 costs each at £10 a week.

“The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of the horses show what a difference being wormed and fed enough of the right things makes,” Taylor said. “That’s all they needed.”

Three of the horses are in RSPCA care, and a fourth had to be euthanised.

World Horse Welfare’s field officer John Cunningham said: “We hoped the condition of these horses would pick up when they arrived at Skippool Road but they continued to deteriorate and Ms Willey was not caring for them.

“There was no grass left for them to eat and they were becoming even more underweight. There was an on-going failure to provide proper care and it reached the point where removal of the horses was the only viable avenue available to us.”

 

One horse is already available for rehoming. Storm is being cared for at RSPCA Felledge and details can be found here.

The other four horses are at World Horse Welfare. They will be up for rehoming in due course.

 

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