Gosport, Hampshire: Claire Hopkins

#TheList Claire Hopkins, born c. 1972, of 1XX Tukes Ave, Gosport, Hants PO13 0SD – left 3 horses unattended for 2 weeks, during which one horse died

Claire Hopkins from Gosport, Hampshire, left three horses unattended for two weeks.
Claire Hopkins from Gosport, Hampshire, left three horses unattended for two weeks.

Hopkins admitted three offences over three horses kept at Newgate Lane, Fareham. Molly in the stable in Newgate Lane, Fareham.

Left stabled and neglected for around two or three weeks in the spring, the three horses, Phoebe, Fred and Molly, were left to fend for themselves.

Following a call from a concerned member of the public, RSPCA inspectors found that Phoebe had died, her body remaining with Fred. Molly was so emaciated that she was close to death and was later found to be in-foal.

“It was horrendous,” explained RSPCA inspector Jenny Ride. “To see a deceased horse basically rotting away and another not long from death must have been mental and physical torture.”

Fred, Molly, and her foal, Bluebell, have now been successfully rehomed, all in the same place.

Sentence: eight-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, 20 days of rehabilitation activities;  £300 fine and an order to repay the vet costs of £274.80; banned from keeping horses for just three years (expires November 2019).

Horse and Country

Norton, Stoke-on-Trent: Claire Machin

#TheList Claire Machin, born c. 1980, last known address Pinfold Ave, Norton, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 – neglected horses and pet dog

Horse abuser Claire Machin from Stoke on Trent, UK

Machin, who is from a notorious family of travellers and horse traders (her mother, Jackie Johnson, went on to be banned for life from keeping horses in 2017) was convicted of causing ‘unnecessary suffering to two horses and a dog’ in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

The RSPCA took Machin to court following two separate complaints regarding her pet shihtzu Coco, and two horses.

Horses neglected by Claire Machin from Stoke on Trent, UK
Horses neglected by Claire Machin from Stoke on Trent, UK

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated alongside colleague Laura Bryant, said: “We were invited along on a warrant as part of an investigation by Animal Health and found Ms Machin’s dog, Coco. She was very, very thin and vets gave her a body condition score of just one out of five.

“The vet also found a huge bladder stone which she said was the biggest she’d ever seen in comparison to the little toy dog’s size – it took up the whole of her bladder.”

Horses neglected by Claire Machin from Stoke on Trent, UK
Horses neglected by Claire Machin from Stoke on Trent, UK

Around a month later, the RSPCA were called again to emaciated ponies in a field.

“Two colts in the field were extremely skinny and the vet who saw them gave them a body condition score of just 0.5 out of five. They were so weak they couldn’t even pick their back legs up to walk.

“We weren’t sure if they were going to make it and, for the first week in our care, one of the little ponies had to be scooped up off the floor several times a day as he didn’t have the strength to stand himself.

“Thankfully, all the animals recovered and are doing amazingly well and can now go on to be rehomed.”

Machin had denied three offences of causing unnecessary suffering – one allegation in relation to the dog and one each in relation to both of the ponies – but was convicted on all counts and sentenced under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act.

Sentence: 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months; £1,000 in costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.

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Update 2019: Claire Machin is using the name Mandy Ding on Facebook. The family’s horse trading business continues to operate with Claire Machin’s brother Wayne Sallis playing a key role.