Man admits causing unnecessary suffering to six horses at site in Paper Mill Lane near Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
A 61-year-old man from Ipswich has pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to six horses in his care.
Gussy Lee, of Woodlands Way, Ipswich, appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court today following an investigation by the RSPCA on ten horses kept in a field near Paper Mill Lane in Ipswich.
The court heard six of the animals were in a poor state of health, with many suffering from dehydration, matted hair, overgrown hooves, worms and anaemia. A number of horses also suffered from liver disease as a result of the mass of ragwort growing in the field, a plant that can be highly toxic to horses.
Lee also pleaded guilty to not ensuring the welfare of ten horses in relation to providing them with a suitable diet.
Prosecuting, Hugh Rowland said RSPCA inspector David Podmore, joined by Redwings Sanctuary field officer Julie Harding and a police officer, visited the site on January 5.
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“Five horses were considered to be very underweight,” he said.
As a result, a non-statutory warning notice was issued to Mr Lee.
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Inspectors revisited the site on January 12 along with vet Nicola Berryman and two police officers.
Mr Rowland said: “The vet confirmed her immediate concern for six of the horses.
“The animals were lethargic and all appeared extremely dehydrated and excited for food.
“One of the equines was a stallion and that was found to be acting aggressively to the others, fighting over scraps of food.
“A number were unstable on their limbs. There was no signs of fresh food or forage supplied to the animals.
“As far as all ten animals were concerned, there had been a failure to meet their needs.”
Ten horses were taken from the site that day and are currently in the care of the RSPCA.
In mitigation, David Allen said Lee was ‘totally ashamed’ of what had happened but said his client had not looked after the horses properly due to the deaths of Nathan Oakley and Barry Street at West Meadows travellers site in December, where he had been living at the time. He said Lee had been ‘severely distracted’ by the situation at West Meadows.
Presiding magistrate Michelle Bevan-Margetts ordered an all options report, including the possibility of custody, before Lee is sentenced on Tuesday August 8.