#TheList Martha Toal, born c. 1966, of 2 School House Close, Glenanne, Armagh BT60 2GA, and partner Michael Ferris, born c. 1956, of 7 Shillinghill Road, Armagh BT60 2EE – for a catalogue of animal cruelty to horses
Toal was convicted of 12 charges. Ferris, whose farm on Shillinghill Road, Mowhan in Armagh was where the investigation centred, was convicted of nine charges.
In October 2016, Toal and Ferris were both jailed for five months for what a judge described as one of the worst cruelty cases he had ever come across.
Before the couple were led away to begin their sentences, the presiding judge warned them the ban included every animal “down to a goldfish”.
In addition, the judge also ordered the pair to hand over a total of £46,000 to the authorities, after she heard they had refused to allow two statutory bodies to sell the seized animals despite them being told that if they agreed, costs of the animals being fed, housed and cared for would be dropped.
This case arose from an animal welfare complaint received by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
On investigation of the complaint animal welfare officers found horses and ponies and one donkey at premises and on land at Shillinghill Road.
Eight equines were taken into possession by the Council as they were certified by a veterinary surgeon as suffering due to starvation and neglect.
Of these eight, three did not survive.
Two dead ponies were also found on the premises.
Toal and Ferris were found guilty of failing to dispose of equine carcasses, causing unnecessary suffering, failing to provide a wholesome diet, and failing to comply with welfare improvement notices.
They also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to seven horses and a foal.
Sentencing: two months in jail (reduced from five on appeal); total of £46,000 in costs. Lifetime ban on keeping any animal.