“Both horses were deemed to be suffering unnecessarily” reports vet as owner is banned from keeping equines

  • Horse owner banned for a decade after admitting neglecting two equines
  • RSPCA and Redwings discovered the horses were “very underweight” and in poor body condition

A woman from Bishop’s Stortford has been disqualified from keeping horses for 10 years after admitting to allowing two horses to suffer.

Claire Kathleen Hollis (D.O.B 22/09/1985) of no fixed address appeared at Colchester Magistrate’s Court and admitted one offence under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

During the hearing on Wednesday last week (19 January) the court heard the RSPCA was contacted in February 2021 by welfare officers from Redwings Horse Sanctuary. They raised concerns for the welfare of two horses known as Peps and Rupert, who were being kept in a field off Pond Lane in Bishop’s Stortford.

The vet remarked in their witness statement:

At the time they were seized both horses were deemed to be suffering unnecessarily under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, as there was no provision for their basic needs of food and water.

The poor body condition of both horses indicated that this lack of provision of food had been an ongoing problem resulting in significant weight loss. Provision of adequate food and water, a basic requirement of a responsible owner, would have prevented this suffering occurring.

The lack of food must have occurred over a protracted period, of weeks rather than days, to allow for the poor body condition score to be achieved.”

Following examination, the vet confirmed both Peps and Rupert to have a body condition score of just 0.5 out of 5.

RSPCA Inspector Jessica Dayes witness statement read:

It was clear straight away when the mare’s rug was taken off that she was in poor body condition.

Her hips, ribs and spine were all clearly visible and easy to feel. She also had diarrhea running down her back legs and rubs on her shoulders caused by the rug. The rug was put back on after examination due to the very cold weather, and the vet raised concerns that she was hypothermic.

Insp Dayes added:

When the vet examined the Welsh pony it was clear he was also very underweight. When I felt under his winter coat I could feel his spine and hips, he also had lice and dandruff seen heavily in his mane. The vet also showed me an area on his hip that was swollen and uncomfortable when touched.”

The District Judge noted there was evident suffering and there had been a failure to provide care for the equines. He stated the fact Hollis believed the animals were fine as they were found was an insult.

Above: both horses are now doing well.

Hollis was disqualified from keeping horses for 10 years, and given a community order to observe with an electronically monitored curfew between the hours of 10pm and 8am, for 12 weeks. She was also ordered to pay £800 costs and £95 victim surcharge.

Jo Franklin, Redwings Senior Field Officer, said:

This was a very upsetting case and we are so pleased that justice has been done. Both horses have made really good progress since coming to Redwings, they have now settled in well at one of our sites in Norfolk and have made a great recovery thanks to our vets and care staff.”

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