#TheList Gussie Lee, born c. 1956, of Woodland Way, Ipswich IP1 5PE – caused suffering to a large group of horses based in Paper Mill Lane in north Ipswich
Gussie Lee was banned from keeping animals after horses he owned were found hungry, dehydrated and diseased.
Lee pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of 10 horses and causing unnecessary suffering to six of them.
RSPCA inspectors visited the horses in Paper Mill Lane, north Ipswich, after concerns were raised about their condition.
Prosecuting, Hugh Rowland, said that on January 5, 2017, five horses were found “very underweight” and Lee was issued with a warning notice, requiring him to ensure the animals were fed and wormed and to call a vet if their condition deteriorated further.
Returning on January 12 with a vet, Mr Rowlnad said the horses’ condition was found to have worsened. Blood tests found some of the horses were suffering liver disease from eating a toxic plant.
The horses were found with matted hair, ingrown hooves, lice infestations and some were suffering from anaemia or dehydration. They were seized by police, handed over to the RSPCA and taken to a horse sanctuary.
Mr Rowland said the vet “was of the view” it would have taken more than four weeks for the worst affected to reach that state.
In mitigation, David Allan, defending, said Lee had expressed “genuine shame” about what had happened. He said Lee was in ill health, having suffered several heart attacks. Most significantly, Mr Allan said, he had been affected by the “extremely fraught” situation that followed two killings on West Meadows travellers’ site.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Anne Tyler, said the offences fell into the category of “high culpability”. “It’s so serious that only custodial options are appropriate,” she added.
The RSPCA said the horses had since undergone an “amazing transformation” thanks to the RSPCA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for 24 months for causing unnecessary suffering to six horses and 12 weeks suspended for two years for failing to meet the needs of 10 horses, to run concurrently. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and £115 victim surcharge to be taken from his benefits. He was also banned from keeping animals and told he could not appeal for 10 years.