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


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