#TheList Lynda Elizabeth Went, born c. 1951, of Lake View Bungalow, Alford Road, Thoresthorpe, Alford LN13 9HU – for causing unnecessary suffering to horses in her care.
Lynda Went pleaded guilty to two charges, namely:
Between July 13, 2018 and September 13, 2018, at Thoresthorpe, caused unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely four Arab type horses, by an act, namely by failing to explore and address their overgrown hooves.
On or before September 13, 2018, at Thoresthorpe, did not take such steps as were reasonable in all circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which you were responsible, namely two Arab stallions, were met to the extent required by good practice in that you did not ensure their need for a suitable environment in which to live.
Sentencing: For the first offence, Went was handed a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. During the 18 months supervision period, the defendant must also carry out 60 hours of unpaid work. Went was also ordered to pay £250 in court costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Two ‘Section 33’ orders were made to deprive Went of ownership of the horses, and a ‘Section 34’ order was imposed to disqualify her from owning horses, keeping horses, participating in keeping horses, and from being party to an arrangement under which the defendant is entitled to control or influence the way in which they are kept, for a period of five years.
For the second offence, Went was handed a 12 week concurrent suspended prison sentence.
#TheList Kirsty Hamilton, born c. 1984, of 15 Martin Street, Bury BL9 7SF – left an emaciated Arab mare with a severe hoof infection
Hamilton pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to meet the needs of Arab mare Blossom, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public who was concerned about Blossom, kept at stables at Nook Farm, Nook Lane, Tyldesely, Astley. On investigating, the mare’s bodyweight was rated one, the lowest on a scale of one to nine, and a vet found she had a bad case of thrush in all her hooves.
Inspector Danni Jennings, said: “The horse was clearly in an emaciated state and had other problems which had not been dealt with such as overgrown teeth.
“The infection in her hooves was awful and was caused by her standing in faeces in a dark and damp stable block for a long period of time.”
In mitigation the court heard that Hamilton had personal problems and was pregnant.
Blossom was taken for treatment and is now in the care of the charity.
Sentencing: 12-month community order; curfew order; total of £1,585 costs and charges. Banned from keeping equines for just one year.
#TheList Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, born 24/01/1995, of George Street, Atherton, Wigan M46 and brother John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, born c. 1994, of Bolton Road, Atherton, Wigan M46 – allowed a pack of neglected ponies to roam on an industrial estate
In a prosecution brought by the RSPCA brother and sister Aithne and John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, whose mother is convicted horse abuser Lorraine Ashurst, pleaded guilty to a string of cruelty offences.
Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy admitted seven offences related to the care of seven Welsh-type ponies while her brother pleaded guilty to four charges involving looking after the same animals.
A grey mare was found by RSPCA inspectors with her feet in terrible condition. The animal was lame from severely overgrown hooves, had an abscess and suffered from chronic laminitis.
Five of the ponies were also not protected from pain and suffering because a farrier was not employed to look after their hooves.
The seven animals were also not provided with a suitable living environment.
John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, who has a previous conviction for horse cruelty, admitted failing to provide suitable accommodation for the ponies, not providing them with daily care and supervision to prevent harm coming to them, neglecting the grey mare and not getting a farrier for two grey mares.
Most of the animals were pregnant and one sadly died from complications giving birth after the RSPCA had rescued them.
Animal welfare inspectors found the terrified creatures causing chaos at a glass manufacturer’s site in Hindley after escaping from their grazing grounds.
They had also crossed a main road streaming with traffic during their wanderings.
RSPCA inspector Alison Fletcher said: “This case highlights the need for responsible equine ownership. Horses need to be contained in a suitable and secure environment.
“There have been a lot of problems with straying horses in Wigan over the years and it causes a risk to the animals and to people.
“The ponies had got off the land where they were originally being kept, gone down a main road and ended up on an industrial estate. It was extremely dangerous for them and they were very fearful.
“This case also highlights the basic needs horses have, like regular foot trimming. If this doesn’t happen it can cause them immense suffering.
“You can’t just have a pet horse in a field. The costs of looking after them are extremely high and people need to think through what they are going to need before they take on an equine.”
The animals were so frightened they had to be sedated for inspectors’ safety during the operation to remove them on February 2, a day after the welfare charity was called about them.
Defending Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, Paul Blanchard said ownership of the horses had been transferred to her from other family members in December 2017 and she had to take responsibility for what subsequently happened to them.
Peter Leather, representing John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, said his client admitted neglecting the ponies after being tasked with maintaining the fences and keeping their enclosure secure as well as feeding them hay each day.
Sentencing: John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy – 120 hours of unpaid work; £2,400 costs plus £85 victim surcharge Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy – 70 hours of unpaid work; £1,200 costs plus £85 victim surcharge.
Both were banned from keeping horses for two years and deprivation orders were made to take the six surviving ponies and their foals away from the Ashurst-O’Shaughnessys.
#TheList Martin Veysey, born c. 1955, of 6 Albert Court, Albert Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 7ET – breached a previous life ban on keeping animals imposed on him in 2011
Veysey pleaded guilty to six charges under the Animal Welfare Act and the Cattle Identification Regulations on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at Taunton Crown Court.
Veysey was banned for life from keeping animals in 2011 after he was prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide appropriate care for his animals.
The latest prosecution was brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service and related to the purchase, transport and ownership of cattle obtained from markets in the South West.
Charges also related to a pony and an American bulldog owned by Veysey.
Veysey was also found guilty for failing to report and record the movements of cattle and failing to surrender the passports of cattle to Defra’s British Cattle Movement Service.
The court heard that the prosecution followed an investigation by Trading Standards officers.
Officers gathered intelligence from several sources including from members of the public, who responded to adverts he had placed to sell animals, as well as the RSPCA, livestock auctioneers and landowners who had witnessed his involvement with animals.
In sentencing Veysey, the judge told him that ‘the legislation is intended to protect animals from cowboys like you’ and warned him any further breaches would mean that he would go to prison.
Sentencing: eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Costs of £2,115.
#TheList Jennifer Parnell, born c. 1944, previously of Beaconsfield Road, Clevedon, Somerset – a serial hoarder who breached a previous ban on keeping animals after eight cats were found in squalor at her home
In April 2012 Jennifer Parnell, then living in Burnham-on-Sea, was banned from keeping dogs and cats for 10 years after being convicted of cruelty charges relating to three dogs and four kittens. Now her disqualification order has been extended until 2038 after eight cats were found in disgusting conditions at her current address.
Parnell had crudely white-washed the windows of her home in an attempt to hide the faeces-ridden rooms inside the property and the cats who lived there.
But when the RSPCA got into her home, they found the eight cats living in squalid conditions.
One of the cats was so poorly he had to be put to sleep. He had been left to suffer with a blocked bladder.
Parnell was brought to court but failed to turn up and had to be brought back to court under a warrant.
She was convicted of three charges of causing animal suffering.
“This could have all been avoided if the disqualification order had not been breached,” said RSPCA acting chief inspector Stephanie Daly.
“The courts impose disqualification orders for a reason – to protect animals from suffering and neglect at the hands of people who have been convicted of doing so.
“We rely on the public to inform us if someone has breached a ban and take this very seriously – as do the courts,” she added.
The surviving cats will now be made available for rehoming.
Sentencing: 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years; £2,000 towards boarding costs. Ban on keeping dogs and cats extended until 2038.
=== Note – 07/12/18: we have been advised that Jennifer Parnell (who has been known to use aliases including the surname Stewart) has now moved to Ashcombe Road, Weston-super-Mare. We understand that this serial hoarder and animal abuser relocates often to avoid detection. Anyone in that road should keep an eye out for those giveaway white-washed windows.
Parnell also apparently keeps four horses in Portbury, near gordano, which were not the subject of the cruelty case. We also hear that two dogs were in her possession as well but the RSPCA’s prosecution only concerned her keeping of cats.
Please watch out for her. By all accounts this is no confused old lady, but a devious individual who has apparently left landlords, vets, farriers and others thousands of pounds out of pocket.
#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
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.
“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.
#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.
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.
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
#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
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.
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.
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.”
Sentencing: 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.
#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
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).
#TheList John Michael Humphrey, born 15/11/1985, of Sandway Drive, Thorpe Willoughby, Selby YO8 9NF – caused suffering to 33 horses and donkeys
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.
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.”
Sentencing: Humphrey was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life.