Suspended sentence for Banbury woman in horse neglect case

The thoroughbred mare, Esp, when rescued by the RSPCA
The thoroughbred mare, Esp, when rescued by the RSPCA

A Banbury woman has been sentenced for neglecting two horses in her care following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

Emily Payne, 34, of Manor Court, Banbury appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court for sentencing today (Wednesday).

The mare regained weight in the care of the RSPCA

The mare regained weight in the care of the RSPCA

She was sentenced to 18 weeks custody, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified from keeping equines for five years.

The court also ordered her to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge, after previously being found guilty of three animal welfare offences.

The animal welfare charity investigated the long-term neglect of a thoroughbred mare named Esp and a failure to meet the needs of a Welsh pony named Ruby.

A specialist equine vet performed a clinical examination of Esp and reported no clinical abnormalities, other than her having a very poor body condition.

The hooves of the Welsh pony, Ruby, when RSPCA officers intervened. She had untreated laminitis

The hooves of the Welsh pony, Ruby, when RSPCA officers intervened. She had untreated laminitis

After being taken into care and given an appropriate diet, the horse’s weight rose from 454kg on August 31 to 482kg by September 12, leading the vet to conclude that the significant rise in body weight over such a short period of time, with no treatment other than dietary change, showed lack of food over several weeks was the cause of Esp’s emaciated state.

Ruby, a chestnut Welsh cross pony mare, was also rescued after being found to have overgrown hooves and untreated laminitis.

Radiographs were taken and revealed excessive length of toe and rotation of the pedal bone, with chronic changes evident at the tip of the pedal bones.

The vet concluded that the pony’s needs were not being met due to pain from changes caused by laminitis, which should have been aided by remedial farriery.

Both horses were in a field that was bare with minimal grass, and empty hay troughs and water buckets.

RSPCA inspector Susan Haywood, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “Cases like this are very sad as they could so easily be avoided. We hope it is a reminder that caring for horses is a huge responsibility and highlights the importance of ensuring their welfare.

“Providing food and water, alongside regular and routine farriery care is a vital part of owning equines.

“Wherever possible we offer advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, including giving people time to make improvements to their standards of care, however, despite advice from ourselves and vets, Payne continued to fail to provide appropriate care.”

Both horses have recovered while in care since they were rescued.

Payne had pleaded not guilty to offences last month but was convicted.