Horse suffering woman walks free

A SUFFOLK horse owner who caused suffering to a pony has walked free from court despite one of her appeals against conviction failing.

Helen Skene

A SUFFOLK horse owner who caused suffering to a pony has walked free from court despite one of her appeals against conviction failing.

Josephine Kowalski was found guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court of causing unnecessary suffering to Brambles by rasping and reshaping her hooves in an attempt to treat her painful lameness.

The 52-year-old was also convicted of an identical charge but for failing to contact a vet when she knew Brambles was in pain.


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She was initially ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work for the community, told to pay £10,000 costs and was banned from keeping horses for a year.

Kowalski, of Lower Street, Baylham, appealed against her convictions at Ipswich Crown Court.

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The court heard that she had practised methods taught by German vet Hiltrud Strasser to treat Brambles' severe foot condition called Laminitis but instead of calling a vet she rasped and trimmed the pony's hooves to the point of mutilation.

Brambles had to be destroyed after she was seized by the RSPCA on July 21, 2004.

Judge John Holt said about the first summons: “The question we are to consider is what she did during the last four weeks before the pony was seized. She said she trimmed the hooves every three or four days.

“That trimming could have been excessive or it could have been done according with Dr Strasser's method, which we say may not be unreasonable”.

Judge Holt said that although the court could not be sure of any damage caused before the four week period stated in the summons the appeal would be allowed.

About the second summons Judge Holt said Kowalski must have known Brambles was in pain but did not call a vet who would have prescribed painkillers and foot padding to make the pony more comfortable.

He said that instead she continued with her method to prove her ability to treat Brambles.

Judge Holt added: “Both our experts agreed that a vet should have been called. The evidence is clear Brambles was in significant pain on July 20 and had been for several weeks, if not all the time she was in the care of Mrs Kowalski (since January 2004).”

The court heard that the costs at the lower court reached £44,975 and had risen to £57,536 during the appeal at the higher court.

Judge Holt re-sentenced Kowalski to 30 hours unpaid work which she had already completed and quashed the £10,000 court costs.

The court heard that the year's ban had also expired and Kowalski was once again free to keep horses.

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