Category Archives: Equine abuse

Cruelty to horses, ponies and donkeys

Llansantffraid, Powys: Sarah Rose Morris and Debbie Smitherman

#TheList Sarah Rose Morris and Debbie Smitherman, both of Winllan Farm, Llansantffraid, Powys SY22 6TP – for animal cruelty offences relating to a 2yo Welsh cross pony named Holly

Sarah Rose Morris and Debbie Smitherman were banned from keeping horses after leaving their pony to starve
Sarah Rose Morris and Debbie Smitherman were banned from keeping horses after leaving their pony to starve

Morris and Smitherman both pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the pony when they appeared before Welshpool Magistrates Court.

Jo Barr, founder of not-for-profit equine rescue and rehoming  centre Totem Horses, who were involved in Holly’s rescue, said: “Having previously worked for the RSPCA for 10 years I honestly thought I had seen everything. But when we went to collect Holly, I could not believe what I saw.

“They had shut her in the trailer three days before as she was cold, but the pony was lying in her own urine with no food or water. I was amazed she was still alive.

“All of her bones were visible and the skin on her withers and in other places had broken down. It beggars belief two so-called horse lovers could allow an animal to be in that state, shut in a trailer dying just feet away from the back door of their house.”

Holly was signed over to Totem, who sought immediate veterinary treatment for her and alerted the RSPCA. At this stage it was touch and go whether she would survive.

Jo said: “For the first three nights I slept in the barn with Holly as she had drips and other treatment,” she said. “I had to lift her head to give her water and feed from a scoop as she wasn’t even strong enough to lift it herself.”

“Lower House Equine Clinic were brilliant and made sure she had pain relief and fluids everything else she needed around the clock. I was determined that if we did lose her she would not die alone – so I stayed with her.

“Thankfully she didn’t, but it still it took a further two weeks before she was actually strong enough to stand up without some help.”

She added: “I am very grateful to RSPCA inspector Phil Lewis for everything he did as well and I could not have saved Holly without the support of our volunteers Lyddy, Kelly, Holly and Jiri, and also Helen and Adam who got involved later on and helped this young pony to regain her trust in people.

Sarah Rose Morris and Debbie Smitherman were banned from keeping horses after leaving their pony to starve
Holly at Totem Horses

“I am very pleased the court recognised the serious nature of the neglect and also the RSPCA exists to investigate and make sure the people responsible are held accountable for their actions.”

Totem Horses is now appealing for a home for Holly. The not-for-profit horses go out on a loan agreement and homes are subject to regular home visits.

Holly is still a young pony and it takes a while for her to trust new people so she needs an experienced home anywhere in England and Wales where she will get regular handling.

For further information or to offer Holly a home visit Totem Horse’s website or its Facebook page.

Morris and Smitherman were ordered to each pay a £300 fine, £250 legal costs to the RSPCA and a £30 victim surcharge.  Both were banned from keeping horses or ponies for 10 years.

Shropshire Star


Rhuallt, Denbighshire: Michael Stephen Walsh

#TheList Michael Stephen Walsh, born 15/04/1964, of Bryntirion, Rhuallt, St Asaph, Denbighshire LL17 0TG – caused suffering to two little donkeys by leaving their severely overgrown hooves unkempt

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk
Michael Walsh’s donkeys’ hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

Millionaire Michael Stephen Walsh changed his earlier plea to admit the Animal Welfare Act offence and was sentenced at Mold Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

Another individual [most likely his wife, Judith Walsh] accepted a caution for their involvement in the poor care of the donkeys.

The RSPCA was notified of the case after members of the public saw the male donkeys with the severely overgrown hooves, causing them difficulty to walk. Veterinary examination discovered the hooves were in such poor condition that the donkeys endured suffering.

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

Donkeys thrive in semi-arid parts of the world, where the ground is dry and stony. Their hooves are much more efficient than horses at absorbing water, but this means the wet pasture of the UK can make their feet soft and cause foot diseases.

Most donkeys’ hooves require a trim every six to 10 weeks.

RSPCA inspector Jenny Anderton said: “The failure to provide adequate care for these donkeys’ overgrown hooves caused them to suffer.

“It is really sad how such basic action could have prevented this. A simple phone call to a farrier could have stopped these poor donkeys suffering.

“Fortunately, both donkeys will come into the care of the RSPCA and have a second chance of happiness. But this case reminds us how important proper appropriate care of hooves is for donkeys, and other equines.”

Walsh was fined £650 and ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £50 victim surcharge. He agreed to sign the animals into the care of the RSPCA.

Michael Stephen Walsh, with his brother Sean, set up lucrative business Anglia insurance repairs, which they sold for £37m in 2007.

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

The brothers later bankrolled their local football club Prestatyn Town but severed ties in 2012.

The business man, who is also a former soldier, now runs Walsh Investment Properties as well as carrying out charity work for ex-servicemen.

He has ploughed much of his fortune into renovating his massive farm house home in Rhuallt.

Daily Post
Denbighshire Free Press

Stoke-on-Trent: Paul Simpson

#TheList Paul Simpson, born 16/05/1958, of Maple Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 1JW – left two horses to starve in a field, one of whom later had to be put down.

Paul Simpson of Maple Avenue, Stoke, left his horses to starve in a field
Paul Simpson’s horses were found starving, covered in lice, and with no food or water.

Simpson pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public who had seen a horse lying down in a field off Mere Lake Road, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent. A bay mare, Polly, and a grey mare, Biscuit were found “skinny and lame, covered in lice and with no food or water”.

Between 1 November and 28 November 2017 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of the poor bodily condition and weight loss of Polly and Biscuit.

Paul Simpson of Maple Avenue, Stoke, left his horses to starve in a field

Before 28 November 2017 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by housing a lame horse, Polly, on wet muddy ground,

Between 8 August 2017 and 28 November 2017 Simpson failed to provide veterinary care for Biscuit’s lameness.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated, said: “Both horses had rugs on them but I could still see every bone sticking out. I attended with World Horse Welfare, a vet and the police and we were all immediately concerned. Both horses had a really depressed demeanour and were just standing there not moving.

“The vet had a look at them and made the decision that they were suffering and needed immediate veterinary attention. They both had low body scores, one was given a body score of 0.5 out of five and the other was given a score of one.

“Polly, also had a swollen knee from an untreated injury, and Biscuit had a massive bone abscess on one of her front hooves which would have been incredibly painful for her and was the reason why she was so lame.”

Biscuit was found to have “pus coming out of every hoof” and was “so poorly” the vet made the decision to put her down. Polly was taken into the care of World Horse Welfare.

Sentencing:10-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months; two-week curfew; ordered to pay £250 costs and £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping horses for five years

Horse and Hound

Lanlivery, near Bodmin, Cornwall: Tara Sutton

#TheList Tara Sutton, born c. 1975, of Lanivery, Cornwall PL30 5DL – left eight ponies to suffer in ‘dangerously boggy’ field in deep mud with no food

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.
Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Tara Sutton,  owner of a ‘ponies-for-hire’ business named Miss Polly’s Ponies, pleaded guilty  on Thursday 25/10/2018 to two offences in a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Sutton left ponies Cherry, Tic-Tac, Millie, Benson, Cilla, Lady, and two known as George to suffer in squalid conditions to the point that bones could be seen through their skin.

The ponies were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Four of the ponies, two Shetlands known as George and Cilla, along with a cob known as George, and Cherry, were found to be suffering and were so underweight that bones could be seen through their skin.

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

RSPCA inspector Claire Ryder, who investigated the neglect, said: “This case is a reminder that caring for horses is a huge responsibility and highlights the importance of ensuring their welfare.

“Sutton neglected to meet the basic care needs of her horses; they were kept in wholly unsuitable housing with no forage, no food, and just a small amount of dirty water.

“The land where they were left to graze was dangerously boggy, with ponies faced with no choice but to stand in deep mud.

“Wherever possible we offer advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, including giving people time to make improvements to their standards of care, however, despite advice from ourselves, other equine charities, and a Defra vet, Sutton continued to fail to provide appropriate care for her horses.”

12 weeks in custody, suspended for twelve months. Ordered to pay £300. Banned from keeping equines for three years (expires October 2021). The disqualification and seizure orders are suspended for 28 days by the court to enable her to find homes for the horses in her care.



Norton Canes, Staffordshire: Jacqueline Rita Wilson

#TheList Jacqueline Rita Wilson, born c. 1968, of Chapel Street, Norton Canes, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 – starved her horse to the point of collapse and which led to her eventual death

Jacqueline Rita Wilson of Chapel St, Norton Canes, Staffs, starved Duchess to the point of collapse. Sadly she never recovered.
Jacqueline Rita Wilson of Chapel St, Norton Canes, Staffs, starved Duchess to the point of collapse. Sadly she never recovered.

Wilson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the horse, called Duchess, RSPCA Inspector Kate Levesley attended the scene and found the severely emaciated red road cob collapsed in a field in Coulter Lane, Burntwood.

It is thought that Duchess had been collapsed for at least 24 hours before being discovered.

Sadly, she was so poorly that, after a month under veterinary care and with no improvement, the decision was made to put her to sleep.

Kate Levesley said: “Duchess was really struggling to get up as she was so weak. The vet took one look at her and said she needed to get to the surgery as she was so poorly.

“She was so skinny and clearly looked to be in pain. She was so ill that at first look you would have thought she wasn’t alive.

“Duchess was in such a bad way, the vet confirmed she was suffering and as a result the police were able to seize her.

“At the vets she was found to have had a stomach infection which was not treated and which has been so bad that she was unable to recover.

“There was also no food, grazing or water for Duchess on the field, nor was there any shelter.

“As soon as she was offered food and water she immediately ate and drank it as she had been without it for some time.”

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months; ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work; five-year ban on keeping animals (expires November 2023).


Selby, North Yorkshire: John Michael Humphrey

#TheList John Michael Humphrey, born 15/11/1985, of Sandway Drive, Thorpe Willoughby, Selby YO8 9NF – caused suffering to 33 horses and donkeys

Image may contain: 1 person, text and close-up

Horse abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

Humphrey pleaded guilty to 25 offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

The offences related to 33 animals which were being kept at fields in Gowdall, Gateforth and near the A63 Selby bypass.

Two of the horses had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds and one died while giving birth.

Horse abuser John Michael Humphrey from SelbyHorse abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

RSPCA inspector Alice Cooper, who investigated with colleague Claire Mitchell, said: “This was a complicated case involving a large number of equines being kept at three different locations.

“Many of them were suffering and needed urgent attention, and some of them had to be immediately hospitalised.

“Those who weren’t suffering were likely to if their circumstances didn’t change, due to the dirty or hazardous environments they were living in.”

The animals had no access to clean, fresh drinking water and no suitable food source. Many were in an extremely poor physical condition

Inspector Cooper said: “Many were very nervous and seemingly hadn’t had much handling.”

In mitigation, the court heard that the horses kept at Gowdall Ponds had only been there for a short time because of localised flooding and that the animals at Gateforth had come to him from a dying farmer and had arrived in poor condition.

Of the horses at the third site, Humphrey said that there was a stream and the water troughs were filled daily, with supplementary feed provided. He said he had had horses all his life and never had any problems.

He signed all the horses over to the RSPCA, for rehoming when they are ready, and the donkeys were signed over to The Donkey Sanctuary.

Inspector Cooper said: “We are, as always, extremely grateful to all those who helped with this difficult case, including World Horse Welfare and The Donkey Sanctuary, who sent officers to the scene and took on some of the animals, who are doing great and are going up for rehoming soon.”

Humphrey was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life. 

York Press.

Holywell, Flintshire: Joy and Phillipa Edwards

#TheList Joy Veronica Edwards, aged 61, and daughter Phillipa Edwards, aged 26, both of Cherrywood,  Gwespyr, Holywell CH8 9LT – kept dogs, cats and horses in ‘eighteenth century conditions’ on their smallholding

Joy and Phillipa Edwards said animals were their lives, but failed to properly look after them

Joy and Phillipa Edwards were banned from keeping dogs, cats and horses after the discovery of appalling animal neglect at their smallholding.

The RSPCA seized ten horses, three dogs and 15 cats from the property having been alerted to the conditions by a  council pest controller.

One horse named Binka and a dog named Ben had to be put down and two cats were also later put down.

The animals were said to have been found in “18th or 19th century conditions”.

Horses in poor bodily condition were in a paddock which was wet and muddy and more like a pond. Outbuildings were dirty and had clearly not been cleaned for some time.

Cats were kept in cages in cluttered rooms.

Joy Edwards admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Palamino mare known as Binka by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for a problem to her mouth, and for a problem with her fetlocks.

She also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog known as Ben by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for his poor body condition and ulcerated skin.

She also failed to protect four cats by not providing veterinary care for ear mites and failing to provide adequate diet, especially ready access to fresh water.

Phillipa Edwards admitted failing to provide a Jack Russell terrier type dog known as Raven with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to one horse named Duckie

The court heard that the environment in which the animals were kept was not suitable and there was concern the defendants did not have the financial means or the physical ability to care for their animals.

Bob Vickery, defending, said that Joy Edwards was in a state of distress that one of her horses had been shot and the carcass left for her to dispose of. That had caused a huge amount of hurt, he said.

She accepted she should have had the horse put down earlier.

Binka had a genetic problem with her fetlocks and had a problem walking but she had bred the horse and had her a long time which coloured her judgement over when she should be destroyed.

She had been reluctant to have Ben the dog put down and had been away and had not been fully aware of his worsening condition.

Mr Vickery said “The animals are their life. They live in an isolated rural location.”

Their difficulties had been made worse by one of the worst winters on record and they were unable to move them to other sites because there were none available.

He said they had indicated a huge degree of remorse and were anxious to co-operate with the RSPCA.

A probation officer said that Joy Edwards completely disputed the RSPCA case against her despite her guilty pleas and said that as a result of bad press following the previous appearance they had lost a lot of friends and respect in the community.

She did not drink or smoke and animals were her “main passion.”

Phillipa Edwards was said to live an isolated life. She had been bullied in school and suffered significant mental health problems.

The judge said that society demanded that people who had animals looked after them properly.

They had been kept in conditions more akin to the 18th or 19th century, he said.

The inescapable conclusion was that there had been prolonged neglect, he said.

Joy Edwards – 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year with rehabilitation and 120 hours unpaid work. £150 costs and a £115 surcharge.  Banned from owning horses, dogs and cats for eight years.

Phillipa Edwards – fined £300 with £150 costs and a £30 surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for three years.

Daily Post

Bradworthy, Devon: Rebecca J Tucker and Luke J Morley

#TheList Rebecca J Tucker, aged 46, of Bradworthy, Devon, and Luke J Morley, aged 37, who’s now moved back to his home town of Leicester – ran a small holding in Bradworthy where horses, cattle and pigs were kept in squalid conditions without food and water

Tucker and Morley, who previously lived together at Boards Court, Bideford,  pleaded guilty to a range of charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

Trading Standards Officers, Animal and Plant Health Agency vets and RSPCA inspectors were called to the pair’s premises at various times during December 2017 and January 2018 and found animals being kept in poor conditions and a state of neglect.

On one occasion a vet found 14 cattle in a newly built shed with no dry lying or bedding or food. There was also a small area adjacent where pigs were housed, and they had no access to water.

On another day a vet arrived at the farm mid-morning to find the animals had not yet received any attention such as food and water that day.

When Trading Standards Officers visited they found 11 horses in a field with no suitable dry area for them to lie down in and they had no supplementary food.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

There was also a collapsed five bar gate, collapsed fencing and collapsing netting in the field posing dangers of sharp metal edges and nails and an amount of plastic and burnt rubbish in the area.

Some of the horses were in such a bad state, that the pair were found to have caused them “unnecessary suffering” and so the RSPCA took possession of them.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

During the hot sunny period in May vets were concerned about the lack of food, water and adequate shelter for the pigs – sunburn is a significant problem for pigs.

Trading Standards Officers returned to monitor the welfare of the animals and found further issues concerning diet, water and environment and reported their findings and subsequent advice to Tucker and Morley both verbally and in writing.

A further visit in June found eight pigs with a lack of dry bedding and a Belgian blue calf suffering from hair loss, scabs and a significant untreated lice infestation.

Despite repeated advice and intervention, Tucker and Morley made only temporary improvements, if any, in caring for their animals.

At the time of the offences it is understood that Tucker was the owner of the farming business and employed Morley to feed and care for the animals.

The Judge commented that Tucker “shirked responsibility” and put blame of the animals’ state on Morley, even though extensive advice had been provided to both by the inspectors.

Tucker – 17 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 180 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £390. 

Morley – 12 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 120 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £240.

Both – banned from keeping animals for ten years (expires October 2028).

BBC News

Lymington, New Forest, Hampshire: Jason Cooper

#TheList Jason Cooper, aged 43, of Pound Road, Pennington, Lymington SO41 8EJ –  convicted of ill-treating a horse whom he had left tethered with awful hooves and teeth and an untreated lice condition

Gypsy traveller and horse abuser Jason Cooper from Lymington, Hampshire
Gypsy traveller Jason Cooper has a previous conviction for theft and deception

Gypsy traveller Cooper, who has a previous conviction for theft and deception involving a 92yo pensioner who died shortly after, caused ‘necessary suffering’ to a piebald filly named Tippee.

Horse abuser and gypsy lowlife Jason Cooper from Lymington, New Forest
Sorry, ladies – he’s spoken for.

The RSPCA were called by a member of the public and, assisted by World Horse Welfare, rescued the horse from a piece of land at Admiralty Way in Marchwood, Southampton.

Tippee – who was given her name by her rescuers because of the way she wobbled when she walked – was found in an emaciated condition, covered in lice, and tethered in an unsuitable environment.

The horse was taken into possession by police.

RSPCA inspector Tina Ward, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “Tippee was being kept in inappropriate conditions and her basic needs were not being met.

“She was in poor bodily condition, her hooves and teeth were in an awful state, and she had an untreated lice infestation.

“Cooper had been the owner of Tippee for just five weeks and had already been told to remove her from the common by the Agisters because of her poor bodily condition

“The standard of care fell well below that of a reasonable owner.

“Cooper had a lifetime of experience of owning and keeping horses and should have known no horse should have been left to suffer in the way Tippee had been.”

“All horses need daily care and attention and especially those that are tethered. The practice of tethering horses, whilst far from ideal, is not illegal in this country, so owners who choose to keep their horses this way must go the extra mile to ensure all the horse’s welfare needs are being met.

“I am grateful to all the organisations who were involved in this case and did all they could to help give Tippee the second chance she deserves.”

Tippee has since recovered and will soon be looking for a new home.

£180 with £250 costs. Banned from owning, keeping and dealing in equine animals for two years. 

Daily Echo

Preston, Lancashire: Suzzana ‘Sue’ Taylor, daughter Grace Taylor, and boyfriend Andrew Lomas

#TheList Suzzana ‘Sue’ Taylor, 48, daughter Grace Taylor, 18, both of Fir Trees Farm, Harbour Lane, Salwick, Preston PR4 0ZJ and ex boyfriend Andrew Lomas, 43, of Central Drive, Blackpool – for the abuse  of beach donkeys and neglect of Pomeranian dogs

RSPCA prosecution of Suzzana Taylor, Grace Taylor and Andrew Lomas for animal cruelty
Sue Taylor and daughter Grace Taylor and some of their abused animals. Sadly no photo of callous Andrew Lomas, who has a violent past, is available

The RSPCA have released footage showing appalling cruelty being inflicted on a herd of beach donkeys housed at Fir Trees Farm in Salwick, near Preston.

Covertly-filmed videos showed how donkeys were punched in the face, with one, Bruce, targeted for a running kung-fu style drop kick.

Abusers Suzzana Taylor, daughter Grace Taylor and Suzzana’s ex-partner Andrew Lomas, have now been convicted of cruelty after a two-week trial.

The trio were living together at Fir Trees Farm when it was raided by police, RSPCA inspectors, vets, and council enforcement officers in September 2017.

Carmel Wilde, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the cruelty was brought to the attention of authorities by the neighbours who secretly filmed the Taylors and Lomas in action. They released the footage to the RSPCA after moving from the area.

Donkeys Bethany, who was very underweight, and Floppy, who had an untreated sarcoid growth, were put down.

Both Taylors had licences, issued by Blackpool Council, to have donkeys on the beach and give rides to children and, earlier in the year, the animals passed an annual inspection by a council-employed vet.

RSPCA prosecution of Suzzana Taylor, Grace Taylor and Andrew Lomas for animal cruelty involving dogs and donkeys
Sue Taylor with one of her donkeys.

Ms Wilde said: “The videos show on different dates the donkeys suffering violent abuse; being kicked punched,whipped and hit with sticks.”

“One was given a flying kick.

“On the day of the raid on the farm, the animals were found in a concrete yard where the floor was covered in their urine and droppings.

“Their bedding was wet and soiled.

“The vets’ evidence reveals that they believed the donkeys had suffered abuse over a long period and were living in fear of pain.”

The court heard how  16 Pomeranian dogs were also in a wet and dirty area. They had no fresh drinking water. One had a painful and untreated bite, and the others had matted hair and running eyes.

RSPCA Inspector Amy McIntosh, who led the investigation, said: “The footage of the donkeys being assaulted is shocking and appalling particularly the flying kick on the donkey Bruce.

“Their terrible treatment is compounded by the fact the people inflicting it were making money from them.

“These donkeys are such lovely, docile and friendly animals whose wonderful nature was evident in the fact that they were being worked with children on the beach every day.

“They were being presented to the public as being well looked after but behind the scenes were being cruelly treated and abused and the conditions they were living in were filthy.

“Then there were the dogs, fluffy little Pomeranians, who were living in wet and muddy conditions without adequate shelter, and had untreated bite wounds from where they’d been fighting with each other.

“Sadly two of the donkeys had to be put to sleep on the advice on a specialist equine veterinary surgeon, but all of the remaining animals are now enjoying great lives, and those not previously signed over will now be able to be permanently adopted”.

Hannah Bryer, head of welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary, added: “Cases like these are extremely distressing and highlight the terrible abuse some donkeys continue to face in Great Britain today.

“There is simply no excuse for any animal to be subjected to physical abuse. Owning donkeys is a hugely rewarding experience and a wonderful privilege, however, they require caring and compassionate management to ensure they lead healthy and enriched lives.

“The footage, in this case, shows a series of brutal and needless attacks on the donkeys. This cruel and callous behaviour is unacceptable in any arena but is made worse by the fact that the perpetrators were the very humans who should have been safeguarding their welfare during their working life.

“Donkeys are incredibly stoic animals so by their nature, they often hide the true extent of their suffering, however, there can be no doubt that the violence inflicted on these donkeys caused them fear and distress.

“Happily with the support of vets, farriers and grooms, the condition of these donkeys has improved, but they will need ongoing care and treatment”.

A former neighbour of the Taylors said: “My wife and I would view footage from our security cameras on a daily basis and, afterwards, we vowed we would reveal the evidence after we found somewhere else to live.”

Lomas, who did not give evidence at court, had been refused a donkey licence, while the Taylors’ licences have been suspended.

The Taylors have now given up the lease on the farm and now live in a horsebox parked on the yard. They continue to deny the offences, probation officer Brian Weatherington said.

Grace Taylor was given a community order with 30 days’ rehabilitation, and must do 150 hours of unpaid work. She must also pay £500 costs. She was banned from keeping any animal for three years.

Suzzana Taylor was given a 14-week jail term, suspended for a year. She must pay £500 costs. She also got a three year order banning her from owning animals. 

Lomas, who has previous convictions for violence, was given 14 weeks’ jail, suspended for a year. He must do 150 hours of unpaid work and must pay £500 costs. He was disqualified from keeping animals for three years. 

Blackpool Gazette