Category Archives: Equine abuse

Cruelty to horses, ponies and donkeys

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 23 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

Weston-super-Mare, Somerset: Scott Spurling

#TheList Scott Spurling, aged 23, of Weston-super-Mare – punched a police horse in the head during a drunken fracas

Scott Spurling punched a police horse in the head during a drunken fracas
Scott Spurling punched a police horse in the head during a drunken fracas

Spurling admitted attacking police horse Quantock, a police officer and another man outside a bar in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in July 2018.

North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard Spurling cheered after he punched Quantock in the head and tried to strike PC Mark Hodder in the face.

Sue Cameron, representing Spurling, said her client had punched the horse after being “pushed back by the animal”.

“We accept that any physical contact of that nature with an animal is going to cause unnecessary suffering. There wasn’t any injury,” she said.

“There may have been a psychological impact on the horse but he is described as being well the following day and grazing in the paddock.”

Sentence: 10-week community order and 10-week curfew. £500 compensation to his human victim. 

BBC News

County Armagh, Northern Ireland: Rebecca and Jessica Fiddes

#TheList Rebecca Fiddes, 47, of Markethill, Craigavon and her daughter Jessica Jayne Fiddes, 23, of Willow Dean, Armagh – left two horses to starve in filthy conditions

Rebecca and Jessica Fiddes of County Armagh, Northern Ireland neglected these two horses
Rebecca and Jessica Fiddes of County Armagh, Northern Ireland neglected these two horses and left them to starve in filthy conditions

Rebecca and Jessica Fiddes pleaded guilty at Armagh Magistrates Court on Friday 17/8/2018 to causing unnecessary suffering to two horses in their care.

A case was brought against both women by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 after a member of the public raised concerns about the horses’ welfare in November 2015.

An Animal Welfare Officer, assisted by a veterinary surgeon, visited the property where the horses were being kept and found them to be extremely malnourished with no food and living in filthy conditions. After being certified as suffering, they were taken into the care of the council.

A council spokesperson commented: “This ruling will hopefully serve as a reminder to anyone who causes unnecessary suffering to animals that they will be brought before the courts and dealt with appropriately.

“Cases of cruelty and neglect can be reported to our Animal Welfare team who will use enforcement powers to fully investigate all cases and take formal action, which may include the issuing of Improvement Notices, and where appropriate, seizing animals and prosecuting offenders.”

Rebecca Fiddes was fined £500 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires August 2028). Jessica Fiddes was fined £250 and banned from keeping animals for just two years (expires August 2020).  Both women were also ordered to pay legal costs. 


Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham: Courtney Layton and Ian Tait

#TheList Courtney Layton, aged 19, of no fixed abode, and partner Ian Tait, 45, of Dover Road, Stockton – left horses starving in deplorable conditions

“Vulnerable” Courtney Layton and some images showing horrific suffering she caused to her horses

Layton , whom her lawyer described as “vulnerable”, and Tait both pleaded guilty to animal neglect charges between March 11 and April 1, 2018.

Their horses had been kept in shocking conditions at an allotments in Port Clarence, with one horse laying in thick mud and another so skinny an RSPCA inspector could feel his spine, ribs, pelvic bones and shoulder blades through his thick coat.

John Ellwood, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA,  outlined the squalid conditions inspectors saw when they visited the allotment where the animals were found.

He said: “In the gaps and at the entrance to the make-shift stable there were exposed nails and wire which would present a hazard to the horses.

“While the inspector was on site Harley got his feet caught in a pallet and had to be released. There were no dry areas, no grass, no hay, no adequate shelter and no bedding.”

He added: “The entire allotment was thick with wet mud and faeces. There was lots of rubble, broken glass, wire and a long piece of barbed wire on the floor.”

All the animals were later seen by a vet who confirmed that the conditions the animals had been kept in were totally unsuitable for horses.

“The vet’s opinion is that Blaze and Little Man had been starved to the point of emaciation and were clearly suffering,” Mr Ellwood added.

Blaze and Little Man belonged to Layton, while Dinky and Harley were Tait’s horses.

Ian Tait and Courtney Layton leave Teesside Magistrates' Court after an appearance in connection with animal cruelty charges
Tait and Layton outside court

The court heard how attention was first drawn to the allotment when the pony Blaze was seen to be collapsed on the floor.

Members of the public had been feeding him and alerted the RSPCA.

An inspector later found the pony lying in thick wet mud on his right side, making no effort to lift his head or stand up.

The court was told in mitigation that Layton had been heavily pregnant when the offence occurred and had struggled to go up to look after the horses each day.

Danielle Hewitt, defending, said Layton, a mother-of-two, is a “vulnerable person” and “remorseful” for her actions.

The court was told she had been dealing with “a number of issues in her personal life” and that she has suffered with depression for as long as she can remember.

She added that the horses had only been kept at the allotments “temporarily”.

Discussing Tait, Ms Hewitt said he had only kept his horses at the allotment for one night.

After care from the RSPCA, the horses have made a full recovery and are now free from parasites. The two starved horses – Blaze and Little Man – have now reached a normal weight.

Layton was jailed for 18 weeks for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.  She was also given a 12 week jail sentence for failing to meet the needs of the horses, which will run concurrently.

Taitwas given a 12 week jail term for failing to meet the needs of the horses.

The pair were also disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years (expires August 2028).

Teeside Live

Olveston, Bristol: Sue Smith, Mark Downes, Georgina Blizzard Smith

#TheList Sue Smith and daughter Georgina ‘Gina Louise’ Blizzard Smith, both of Ingst Manor Farm, Ingst Hill, Olveston, Bristol BS35 4AP and Smith’s employee Mark Downes of Pilning, Bristol  – convicted of a catalogue of shocking offences of animal welfare involving horses, cattle, goats,  pigs, chickens and dogs.

Farmer Sue Smith and daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith both of Ingst Manor Far, Olveston, Bristol and some of the scenes of horror that met the RSPCA
Farmer Sue Smith and daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith both of Ingst Manor Farm, Olveston, Bristol and some of the scenes of horror that met the RSPCA

The RSPCA said the scenes they discovered at Ingst Manor Farm will ‘stick in the minds’ of all the inspectors who found hundreds of dead and dying animals at the farm, with dead horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and cattle lying around, being eaten by other animals.

The carcasses of 87 dead sheep were found, nine cattle, two pigs, two goats and there were so many dead chickens and poultry that the RSPCA could not count them all,

The animals that were still alive were waist deep in faeces and decomposing bodies.

A decomposing horse was found wrapped in plastic, with another dead horse discovered attached to the rear of a vehicle with a rope tied around its neck.

Officers saw thin horses walking through thick, deep mud that was up to their knees in some places, surrounded by scrap metal, barbed wire, broken fencing and a bonfire containing animal bones.

Further horror awaited the inspectors in a muddy barn. It was filled with sick and starving sheep, cows and pigs, who were all trying to survive living on top of the piles of dead animals.

In one heartbreaking scene, those going into the farm found lambs alive, lying on the bodies of their mothers, mud six inches deep covering the decaying bodies of other animals, and goats that had starved to death.

The inspectors had to undertake a disposal operation of animal carcasses on a scale not seen since the Foot and Mouth crisis 17 years ago.

RSPCA inspectors visited the farm in March 2015 after concerns were raised and on arrival were met with scenes of appalling suffering.

On further visits to the farm, RSPCA inspectors also found more animals in need of help.

There were piles of carcasses throughout the barn amongst the live sheep and dogs kept in small, faeces-filled cages without food or water. They carried out numerous initial visits throughout that summer of 2015 to clear the dead animals and rescue the survivors.

When they returned in April 2016 to check up, they discovered instead of things getting better over the winter, they had got worse.

They found a number of pigs eating a dead sheep, with other pigs in a pig pen eating a dead pig.

Susan Smith (b. circa 1958) was found guilty of a total of 36 individual charges. She was convicted of ten separate charges relating to not disposing of the bodies of dead animals properly, and another 26 ranging from animal cruelty and neglect through to not registering births or using unlicensed feed.

Smith’s employee Mark Downs, (b. circa 1968), from Blands Row in nearby Pilning, was convicted of 22 separate charges relating to animal cruelty, neglect and failure to dispose of bodies.

Smith’s daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith (born 20/12/1996) was found guilty of two offences relating to two dogs at the farm in April 2016. was also found guilty of two charges of failing to take steps to ensure the needs of two dogs, Angel a golden Labrador, and Savannah, a Border Collie, and causing unnecessary suffering to the collie.


Sue Smith (August 2018): not concluded pending the outcome of an appeal

Georgina Blizzard-Smith (June 2018): deprived of ownership;  £500 in costs and £306 in compensation.

Mark Downes:  32 week in prison; £1,000 in costs; banned from keeping farm animals – pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cattle – for life.

Bristol Live 14/6/18
Bristol Live 21/6/18
Bristol Live 23/8/18

In 2002 Sue Smith was banned from keeping horses for life alongside then partner and father to her offspring, Brian Blizzard.

Recent photograph of horse killer Brian Blizzard, who still lives in Bristol
Recent photograph of horse killer Brian Blizzard, who still lives in Bristol

The pair had pleaded guilty to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering.

The court heard that RSPCA inspectors first visited Ingst Manor Farm in February 2001.

RSPCA officers described the conditions of the fields at the farm as: “similar to a rice paddy.”

The court was also played video evidence,which was described by the judge as “horrific”. It showed several dead horses lying in muddy fields with waterlogged ditches.

A chestnut mare was found dead in the field, covered in plastic bags. A post mortem revealed she had died of multiple bone fractures, weakened by starvation.

A foal, which later died, was found collapsed and so emaciated that its bones stuck out.

The defence told the court that Smith thought the animals had died after being given food containing ragwort.

Horse & Hound

Truro, Cornwall: Paul Hamilton

#TheList Paul Hamilton, born 9/12/1958, formerly of Ennis Farm, Trispen, Truro, Cornwall TR4 and now of no fixed abode – almost starved a beautiful horse called Norma to death; Norma only survived due to interventions of concerned neighbours

Paul Hamilton from Truro failed to feed his horse for 3 months
Hamilton failed to feed Norma for 3 months and she only survived due to the kindness of neighbours

Hamilton, who formerly worked as a horse transporter, failed to supply food to Norma over a 3-month period between January and April 2018 despite warnings from concerned neighbours

Sentencing Hamilton, Justice Diana Baker said: “Norma was in your care and for such a long period of time was not properly looked after. She did not receive food and this caused real suffering and leaving her close to death.

“Because of this she lived with pain and discomfort for months and the vet said they found her curled up. So worried were vets they seized the horse straight away.

“You didn’t listen to neighbours who you may have thought were interfering. Even though they told you their concerns you didn’t do anything and they had to go out of their way to provide Norma with food.

“You say you were very busy at work. This is not an excuse. If you have a horse you have a responsibility. You said you had a lack of expenses. This is not an excuse. If you can’t afford to you don’t keep horses. They require food, veterinary care etc.”

Sentence: two-year community order with 240 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs; banned from keeping equines for just three years (expires August 2021)

Cornwall Live


Marton, Blackpool: Ashleigh Hindle

#TheList Ashleigh Hindle, aged 27, of Barclay Avenue, Marton, Blackpool FY4 4HH – neglected a Welsh mare named Dolly, kept her in hazardous conditions

Horse abuser Ashleigh Hindle from Blackpool and victim of her neglect, Dolly

Mother-of-two Hindle was prosecuted by the RSPCA after inspectors found Dolly to have a catalogue of health problems including lameness and overgrown hooves. She was so thin her spine and hip bones were sticking out. She was also covered in lice and had over-sharp teeth, which caused her difficulties with eating.  She was infested with worms and suffering from the liver disease hepatitis.

The field in which Dolly was kept was hazardous, containing a roll of barbed wire, glass bottles, litter and metal poles sticking out of the ground. There was a very small amount of what appeared to be rainwater in a bathtub for the pony to drink. Dolly had to be tranquillised before she was caught.

Hindle told an inspector she had been unable to catch Dolly for a year.

Hindle, a sales administrator with Chorley Hyundai in Blackpool, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Dolly between March 1 and April 10 2018.

Sentencing: 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months; total £215 costs and charges. Banned from having any horse or equine animal for 10 years (expires August 2028). Deprivation order for Dolly.

Blackpool Gazette

Prosecutions: Courtney Layton and Ian Tait both from Stockton-on-Tees

Prosecutions: Courtney Layton, 19, of Samuel Street, Stockton and boyfriend Ian Tait, 45, of Dover Road, Stockton – accused of failing to meet the needs of horses.

Courtney Layton and Ian Tait
Courtney Layton and Ian Tait

Layton and Tait were both at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 7/8/18.

Layton is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – a black gelding and a black stallion – by failing to address the causes of poor bodily condition and weight loss. She is also accused of failing to meet the needs of a black gelding called Blaze and a black stallion called Little Man.

Layton and Tait, of Dover Road, Stockton, are both charged with failing to meet the needs of a piebald pony called Dinky and a piebald horse called Harley.

The charges were brought by the RSPCA.

The case was adjourned until August 21, Tait and Layton were granted unconditional bail.

No formal pleas have been entered.

Teesside Live