Powys duo given decade-long ban for ‘shocking’ pony neglect

Powys duo given decade-long ban for ‘shocking’ pony neglect

*images in this post may cause upset


Local rescue Totem Horses sounded the alarm after finding the pony collapsed in her own urine in a trailer back in January.

Two Powys women have been banned from keeping animals for a decade after a bay mare pony was found lying in her own urine, with broken skin, and bones visible through her skin.

Debra Smitherman, 54, and Sarah Rose Morris, 22 – both of Winllan, Llansantffraid ym Mechain – admitted that the pony suffered as a result of their neglect.

They both changed their plea for the Animal Welfare Act offence from not guilty to guilty at a case review hearing at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (27 November).

Smitherman, who was jointly responsible for the pony with Morris, admitted failure to provide reasonable care and supervision for the pony, leading to her physical deterioration and collapse.

Meanwhile, Morris’ failure to investigate and address the equine’s weight loss and poor body condition meant the pony, then known as Celyn, suffered unnecessarily.

Each was fined £300, and told to pay £250 in costs – and a £30 victim surcharge – in addition to the ten-year ban on keeping horses.

Holly, Powys before
Holly (Celyn) Powys before treatment

RSPCA Cymru were alerted after a local rescue, Totem Horses, collected the horse in January 2018, and were alarmed by the conditions they found the animal being kept in.

Celyn was locked in a horse trailer, collapsed in her own urine with no access to food or water. Bones were protruding from her skin, and her body condition was a major cause for concern.

The pony – now known as Holly – was given veterinary treatment at Lower House Equine Clinic in Llanymynech, and survived despite her shocking mistreatment. The founder of Totem Horses – Jo Barr – slept in the barn with Holly during the early stages of her treatment.

RSPCA inspector Phil Lewis said: “The conditions this poor pony was found in are shocking – and both individuals clearly failed in the responsibilities they had to her.

“Owning a pony is a privilege, but a failure here to act led to a miserable time for this poor, helpless animal; who was horribly thin and with a very troubling body condition.

“We are hugely grateful to Totem Horses for sounding the alarm, and bringing this pony’s plight to our attention.

“The rehabilitation she has enjoyed in her care has been amazing to witness, and fortunately the pony – now known as Holly – is ready to find her new forever home, and a second chance of happiness.

“Fortunately, this story has a happy ending – and after the awful conditions Holly endured, we were able to secure justice through the courts too.”

Powys-based Totem is now seeking a new forever home for Holly, after her remarkable U-turn. More information on opportunities to rehome the young pony can be found on the RSPCA website.


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