Category Archives: ponies

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


Shipley, West Yorkshire: Henry Brewer

#TheList Henry Brewer, born 18/09/1969, of Esholt Lane Caravan Site, Shipley, Bradford BD17 7RJ – for a catalogue of sickening horse neglect

Photo of foal Tom Jones
This photo of Tom Jones sparked outrage on social media in 2016. Amazingly he survived his ordeal.

Gypsy traveller Henry Brewer was found guilty of three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at a hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that between February 2016 and March 2016, Brewer caused unnecessary suffering to a 10-month-old skewbald filly called Juliette, also known as Trixie, a 10-month-old bay colt called Tom Jones, also known as Sea Biscuit, and a three-year-old piebald mare called Lily.

Photo of Juliette as found on Esholt Lane Caravan Site
Juliette as found on Esholt Lane Caravan Site. She has also recovered in the care of the RSPCA.

This was by failing to investigate their poor body conditions and weight loss.

Brewer was also found to have kept the three horses in filthy conditions, failing to provide them with adequate bedding, clean water and suitable food.

In his defence, the court heard he had always kept his horses like that and he did not think there was anything wrong with it.

After his conviction, Brewer did accept he had fallen short of the necessary standards required by law.

Photos of Tom Jones trussed up using a makeshift rope harness and wearing a bit sparked widespread outcry on social media in 2016.

The RSPCA stepped in and seized the colt along with two other horses from the travellers site.

“The photos of Tom Jones seen last year on social media still haunt us, as I’m sure they do many other animal lovers,” said RSPCA inspector Carol Neale following the sentencing.

Tom Jones at the time of his rescue from the hellhole for animals at Esholt Lane Caravan Site in Shipley
Tom Jones at the time of his rescue from the hellhole for animals at Esholt Lane Caravan Site in Shipley

“We acted as quickly as we could within the remit of the law to get access to the caravan site and find this foal.”

She added they then discovered the two other horses who “were also suffering”.

“Brewer had tried to hide them from us, but with the police and a vet present we were able to locate them,” said Inspector Neale.

“This has been a long and testing case, and is a good example of how our work investigating cruelty takes a great deal of caution and care.

“It’s taken many months of our team working with the foals to get them to a healthy weight and the difference in them is obvious to see.”

Tom Jones after his recovery
Tom Jones after his recovery
Photo of Juliette after her recover
Juliette now

Sadly Lily had to be put down due to “major issues” with her mouth, which she was born with.

The two foals were taken into RSPCA care and made available for rehoming following their remarkable recovery.

Brewer was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months and pay costs of £1,500 plus a £85 victim surcharge.

Horse and Hound

Allegations of endemic animal cruelty at Esholt Lane Caravan Site – Bradford Council deny there’s a problem

In 2016 members of the public raised concerns about the welfare of horses and dogs on the the council-run travellers site in Esholt Lane, near Baildon, Shipley.

Image result for esholt animals

Animal lovers had obtained several photos pertaining to show appalling conditions at the site:

Image of alleged animal cruelty at Esholt travellers site

Image of alleged animal cruelty at Esholt travellers siteImage of alleged animal cruelty at Esholt travellers siteImage of alleged animal cruelty at Esholt travellers siteImage of alleged animal cruelty at Esholt travellers site

On 18 January 2016 RSPCA officers visited the site to investigate but said they had no concerns about the animals.

At the time RSPCA spokesman Leanne Plumtree said: “Two officers from the RSPCA visited Esholt travellers site, Bradford, to check on the animals there after a number of complaints from members of the public over the past few days.

“There are three horses at the site which are all in normal bodily condition, are stabled and have hay and water.

“There are seven dogs at the site which are all in normal bodily condition, have kennels, bedding, food and water.

“An eighth dog was signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming. We do not have concerns about these animals at the present time.

“Officers from the RSPCA regularly visit this traveller’s site after complaints are received and give advice as they see fit on each visit.

“The site has been visited on several occasions this winter and this will continue as long as there are on-going issues.”

Bradford Council also reported that it was looking into allegations of unlicensed dog breeding at the Esholt site but some months later reported they had found “insufficient evidence” of any breaches of reeding rules.

In March 2016 as a photograph of mistreated foal Tom Jones began to circulate on social media causing public outrage the local newspaper reported that the RSPCA had revisited the site. A group (since disbanded) was set up on Facebook to campaign against animal cruelty at Esholt and the failure of the local authority to admit there was a problem.

The group organised a petition to the council and, in May 2016, held  a noisy  demonstration at the travellers site where there was something of a stand-off between the protestors and the travellers.

A court protest at Henry Brewer’s trial was also arranged, though this proved difficult to organise due to constant delays in his case being heard.