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Animal ban for Ipswich man Gussie Lee who caused suffering to Paper Mill Lane horses

PUBLISHED: 19:16 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:20 09 August 2017

One of the horses belonging to Gussie Lee that was seized from Paper Mill Lane Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARY

One of the horses belonging to Gussie Lee that was seized from Paper Mill Lane Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARY

Archant

A 61-year-old Ipswich man has been banned from keeping animals after horses he owned were found hungry, dehydrated and diseased.

Horses Brook and Blyth before being taken to the sanctuary. Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARYHorses Brook and Blyth before being taken to the sanctuary. Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARY

Gussie Lee, of Woodlands Way, was yesterday disqualified from owning, keeping, or looking after any animal and handed two suspended prison sentences by magistrates in Ipswich.

He had pleaded guilty in July to failing to meet the needs of 10 horses and causing unnecessary suffering to six of them.

RSPCA inspectors visited the horses in Paper Mill Lane, north Ipswich, after concerns were raised about their condition.

Prosecuting, Hugh Rowland, said that on January 5, five horses were found “very underweight” and Lee was issued with a warning notice, requiring him to ensure the animals were fed and wormed and to call a vet if their condition deteriorated further.

Rescued horses, Brook, Chad and Blyth after recovering at Redwings Horse Sanctuary. Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARYRescued horses, Brook, Chad and Blyth after recovering at Redwings Horse Sanctuary. Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARY

Returning on January 12 with a vet, Mr Rowlnad said the horses’ condition was found to have worsened. Blood tests found some of the horses were suffering liver disease from eating a toxic plant. The horses were found with matted hair, ingrown hooves, lice infestations and some were suffering from anaemia or dehydration. They were seized by police, handed over to the RSPCA and taken to a horse sanctuary.

•More: Watch video of the horses’ recovery

Mr Rowland said the vet “was of the view” it would have taken more than four weeks for the worst affected to reach that state.

In mitigation, David Allan, defending, said Lee had expressed “genuine shame” about what had happened. He said Lee was in ill health, having suffered several heart attacks. Most significantly, Mr Allan said, he had been affected by the “extremely fraught” situation that followed two killings on West Meadows travellers’ site.

Gussy Lee outside South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court at his previous hearing. Picture:ARCHANTGussy Lee outside South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court at his previous hearing. Picture:ARCHANT

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Anne Tyler, said the offences fell into the category of “high culpability”. “It’s so serious that only custodial options are appropriate,” she added.

Lee was handed a 16 week sentence suspended for 24 months for causing unnecessary suffering to six horses and 12 weeks suspended two years for failing to meet the needs of 10 horses, to run concurrently. He was also banned from keeping animals and told he could not appeal for 10 years. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and £115 victim surcharge to be taken from his benefits.

The RSPCA said the horses had since undergone an “amazing transformation” thanks to the RSPCA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

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