Ten-year horse ban

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A MUM-OF-TWO who claimed animals were “her life” has been banned from keeping horses for ten years after causing “unnecessary suffering” to her pets.

Karen Davey, 32, of Hollinhurst, Allerton Bywater, pleaded guilty at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court last Thursday to eight counts of failing to ensure the welfare of 11 horses and three rabbits.

Tanya Forret, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said Davey caused “unnecessary suffering” to ponies Havana, Nualla, Valentine and gelding Lucky by failing to provide a suitable diet, and failing to protect Havana and horses Spike, Buzz, Walter, Rebel, Dollar, Suzy Q and Summer from pain, injury, suffering and disease between February 3 and 17 this year.

Ms Forret said on February 18 a vet was called to land at Wheldon Road in Castleford after RSPCA inspectors became concerned for the animals’ welfare.

Havana, Nualla, Valentine and Lucky – who were housed in stables which were “dirty” and “soiled with faeces” – had visible ribs, hipbones, spine or chest bones.

A later diagnosis confirmed Havana and Nualla were “emaciated” – scoring zero on the vet’s body condition scoring scheme of zero to five – and there was evidence of diarrhoea and parasites.

Ms Forret added: “The vet described Havana as being particularly weak, dull and depressed. She added that Davey said Havana had been collapsed for several days and she had administered a veterinary-only prescription she had acquired from a friend.”

Ponies and horses in the field were found to be suffering from “mud fever,” the grazing was minimal and the majority of the paddock was flooded.

Three rabbits were discovered in a closed shed with no natural light and the hutches were dilapidated, soiled and the food and water bowls were empty, though the animals were found to be in a “reasonable” condition.

Ms Forret added when the animals were removed, Davey became “abusive” and put a “curse” on the vet and the RSPCA.

Richard Canning, mitigating, said Davey had borderline personality disorder and the charges against her had triggered a mental breakdown.

He added: “She has been involved with horses for 17 years. There’s never been a problem until these few weeks in February and the charges span two weeks if that – it’s a two-week blip in an unblemished career of loving animals.”

Mr Canning said Davey – who also has five dogs – was unable to go in the mud due to self-inflicted cuts to her legs and asked someone else to look after her horses, many of whom she had “saved” from the knacker’s yard.

He said: “She appreciates the buck stops with her, but this isn’t wilful neglect, this isn’t someone that doesn’t care. She describes the animals as her life. She’s instructed me to ask you to send her to prison before disqualifying her from keeping animals.”

He added the defendant had made the mistake of “trusting someone to do something then putting it right on the cheap.”

The court heard Davey signed over the horses to the RSPCA prior to the hearing and after medical attention the animals were now “thriving”.

David Austwick, chairman of the bench, imposed a ten-year disqualification order, a three-year conditional discharge and £500 costs.

He said: “It’s ordered that you should be disqualified for a period of ten years from keeping horses or from participating in keeping horses. It’s not your rabbits, or your dogs, it’s horses.

“That will be in position for ten years. It’s not a life time, and some of these things we have seen in court are for a life time. You have a chance in the future to own them again, when you’re in a better state of mind, and being treated for your illness.”