Woman banned from keeping horses

A SUFFOLK pensioner today has to give up 20 ponies and donkeys after two of her animals were so neglected they could hardly walk.Marilyn Read, has been forced to give up her 19 beloved ponies and donkeys after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to two of them.

A SUFFOLK pensioner today has to give up 20 ponies and donkeys after two of her animals were so neglected they could hardly walk.

Marilyn Read, has been forced to give up her 19 beloved ponies and donkeys after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to two of them.

Read, 68, from Benhall near Saxmundham, neglected one of the animals so badly by failing to trim its hooves that it is likely to be put down.

One farrier described the condition of the feet of one of the ponies as the worst he had even seen.


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She admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to animals when she appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

Today, the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) welcomed the verdict.

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A spokesman said: “We are pleased that Mrs Read, who allowed her pony's hooves to grow so painfully long that it had trouble walking, has pleaded guilty.”

The court heard that Read, who kept 19 ponies and donkeys and 39 dogs, had neglected the animals after becoming depressed following the sudden death of her partner and her mother developing Alzheimer's disease.

Read, of Home Farm, Mitford Road, said she loved her animals and had not meant for ponies Pegasus and Firefly to develop such long hooves.

But her neglect left the animals needing medication and meant one of them may have to be put down.

Prosecutor Hugh Rowland said: “Pegasus is constantly on pain killers and they are at the maximum level - there may only be one alternative.”

The animal's bone had become warped and another pony, Firefly, had become depressed.

Firefly was suffering and had not received the correct foot care for at least six month, ILPH vet Catherine Monk said in a report.

The pony was forced to constantly shift her weight because of the pain in her foot.

Read said she had not called in outside help because she feared the ponies would be taken away: “I loved my animals. I think I should die if they were all taken away.

“I thought Pegasus would be put down [if she had revealed his condition] so I allowed him to live like a little lord.”

Roger Thomson, mitigating, said Read had a special gift for caring for animals and that she had even allowed the pony to sleep on her bed while she slept on the sofa.

The court heard that Read's other animals were in an acceptable condition.

Read was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment, which was suspended for 12 months, given a six month supervision order and ordered to pay £5,165.20 costs, representing the sum spent on caring for the animals after they were taken away from her.

She was also disqualified from keeping all equine animals for two years.

District judge David Cooper said: “You were too proud to learn. You found it difficult to co-operate with the ILPH. I understand that is the kind of person you are.”

Michael Smith, ILPH field officer, added: “I am delighted with the outcome. There is no doubt the new Animal Welfare Act made it easier for us and the RSPCA to act as it places more responsibility on the owners of animals to ensure they do not suffer.”

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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