Woman who kept horses in ‘terrible conditions’ loses her appeal against a ban on keeping animals

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A woman who kept horses in what an RSPCA inspector described as ‘terrible conditions’ has had her ban on keeping animals upheld after her appeal against her sentence was dismissed by judges this week.

Susan Jane Bradburn appeared at Nottingham Crown Court last week to appeal her sentence and conviction from last April when she was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to three Knabstrupper horses, in a field at Hickling Pastures.

However, at the appeal hearing, she admitted offences against two horses, but allegations of offences against a third horse were dropped. Subsequently, her ban was reduced from seven to five years, but she was ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

RSPCA inspector Clint Davies said: “I am relieved to hear Bradburn’s ban on keeping horses has been upheld. This was a clear case of animal neglect which was totally preventable had she provided rudimentary husbandry and veterinary attention when it was so obviously needed.

He added: “When we visited the stables for the first time in February 2015, we were immediately concerned for all 19 horses at the site belonging to Bradburn because of the terrible conditions they were kept in, in particular those that were stabled - they were standing in 4ft of muck. However, three of sixteen that were stabled, the Knabstrupper horses, were in very poor body condition.

“I called a vet straight away because I had serious welfare concerns, and she certified those three horses to be suffering. Police then seized the three horses, and I was able to arrange to have them transported them to our care. I then issued Bradburn with a warning notice to improve the condition of her remaining 13 stabled horses, which she did comply with by turning the horses out.

Bradburn, of Egleton in Rutland, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the three Knabstrupper horses - a Danish breed with a striking spotted coat - in April 2016 following a five-day trial at Nottingham Magistrates Court.

She was disqualified from keeping horses for seven years and sentenced to 16 weeks’ custody (suspended for one year) and ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service and pay £1500 in costs.

Inspector Davies said: “Following her appeal of the ban, the Judge at Nottingham Crown Court remarked that although Bradburn’s offences weren’t deliberate acts of cruelty, they showed complete inadequacy to care for the horses, and in fact, any horses she owned were doomed because of this.

“He praised the RSPCA’s evidence and our witnesses who included three vets, echoing what the magistrate had said back during the trial last year.”

The RSPCA had been first called for assistance by World Horse Welfare in February 2015 after concerns were made for three horses kept at a yard in Hickling Pastures.

Some of the horses were confined to stables that were so filthy they were forced to stand on 4ft of muck, and Bradburn was originally found guilty of three offences of causing unnecessary suffering because of their poor body condition, and three offences of keeping the horses in an unsuitable environment.

The three horses seized by police as part of this case (a 16 year-old mare named Leah, a six-month-old colt named Max and an 18-month-old filly) were placed into RSPCA care and are now fit and healthy, and will be found new homes. Bradburn’s remaining horses must be found new homes in line with her disqualification.