#TheList Suzzana ‘Sue’ Taylor (aka Sue Edge), 48, daughter Grace Taylor, 18, both of Fir Trees Farm, Harbour Lane, Salwick, Preston PR4 0ZJ and ex boyfriend Andrew Lomas, born 22/05/1975, of Central Drive, Blackpool – for the abuse of beach donkeys and neglect of Pomeranian dogs
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 dropkick.
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.
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.